A lawmaker for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia party is among 19 people under investigation in a probe of alleged graft at Rome’s central health authority that led to nine arrests on Wednesday. Forza Italia member of parliament Antonio Angelucci is accused of influence peddling while another suspect in the probe, former supreme court judge Franco Amadeo, is accused of corruption. Among those arrested on Wednesday were two directors of Rome’s ASL 1 health authority, Maurizio Ferraresi, and Claudio Cascarino, who are accused of corruption and bid-rigging. Angelucci denies allegations that he agreed to find jobs for Ferraresi’s children and their fiancés in exchange for Ferraresi’s help in getting a supreme court judge to order the release of seized assets belonging to the MP. Amadeo promised Ferraresi to use his influence at the Supreme Court of Cassation obtain the judge’s ruling in favour of Angelucci, provided Ferraresi issued him with a fake medical certificate to allow a friend of Amadeo’s to get a boob job on the Italian national health service, according to prosecutors. Also arrested on Wednesday as part of the same probe were the owners of a clinical tests laboratory in Rome, Mario and Rossella Dionisi, who allegedly paid Ferraresi 5,000 euros a month to have him recommend their services. Ferraresi and Cascarino alleged also took kickbacks from business people who paid out bribes of over 130,000 euros in a bid to win a 14 million euro maintenance tender with the health authority. “I am the king, I have the upper hand,” Cascarino was allegedly caught saying in one wiretapped conversation. During Wednesday’s operation, police seized cash 4.14 million euros of cash and other assets from Mario and Rossella Dionisi and 330,000 euros of alleged bribes. The investigation began after a tip-off from a former partner of one of several businessmen ensnared by the probe.
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