Italian official held for 10-mn-euro graft

Rome, June 15 (IANS/AKI) A former senior official in the Italian government has been arrested on suspicion of embezzling 10 million euros of interior ministry funds, police said.

Francesco La Motta was the director of the interior ministry’s Religious Buildings Foundation between 2003 and 2006. The foundation administers more than 700 Catholic churches and museums and books and works of art contained in them.

Prosecutors are probing La Motta for allegedly transferring into a Swiss bank account the 10 million euros earmarked for preservation of churches and cultural assets.

The Swiss bank account was later emptied, prosecutors said.

Former banker Klaus Beherend, cinema producer Eduardo Tartaglia and broker Rocco Zullino were also arrested Friday in connection with the probe, police said.

La Motta is also at the centre of a separate judicial probe in Naples into alleged money-laundering by the local mafia or Camorra. Judges have so far seized a billion euros of assets from the Polverino crime family.

–IANS/AKI

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