Italian police launched a series of dawn raids this week and arrested nine people, including politicians, in connection with a project to build an €800m stadium for the AS Roma football team.
Among those detained Wednesday (13 June) were Luca Parnasi, owner of the construction company Eurnova, which was chosen to build the stadium, Adriano Palozzi, vice-president of the Lazio regional government, Michele Civita, a councillor with responsibility for urban planning, and Luca Lanzalone, the head of Acea, the company that supplies the city with electricity and water.
Six of those picked up have been put in police custody and the remainder are under house arrest, including Lanzalone, who is accused of accepting €100,000 for consultancy work for Parnasi; he resigned from Acea from his position following his detention.
Nobody from the football club was involved.
The politicians involved come from the centre-left Democratic Party,Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia party and the anti-system 5-Star movement that recently formed a coalition government with the right-wing Northern League.
Rome prosecutors told reporters after the swoop that they were considering bringing charges for bribery, illegal political financing, influence peddling and criminal association.
The 52,500 seat stadium for AS Roma, the city’s largest club, has been dogged by problems since the contract was signed in 2014. It has taken until now to progress the stadium, and an associated business park, through the city’s bureaucracy.
Building work is due to begin this summer in the Tor de Valle region in the southwest of the city, and be completed in 2021.
Virginia Raggi, the 5-Star mayor of Rome, said: "Those who did wrong will pay. We’re for legality. If everything is up to standard then we hope that the project can go ahead."
Image: AS Roma’s rendering of its planned ground, complete with high-rise business park