Raggi risks indictment over graft probe

Virginia Raggi

ROME- The embattled Mayor of Rome, Viginia Raggi, risks imminent indictment on charges of fraud and abuse of office after prosecutors in the capital closed their investigations into the appointments of corrupt aldermen she made after entering office, judicial sources said Wednesday.

 The Mayor is being accused of abusing her powers in office when she appointed Salvatore Romeo as Head Political Secretary and of fraud for her appointment of Renato Marra as Director of City Tourism. Renato is the brother of Raffaele Marra, formerly Chief of Staff, who has been arrested over alleged corruption offences.

 Ms Raggi, who is a member of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, has denied any wrongdoing in all cases and has vowed to carry on regardless of whether she is indicted or not.

 Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Ms Raggi told Italian media that she had “acted in good faith” when making the appointments for which she may now face trial.

 “I will explain my motives to the magistrates,” she added. Alessandro Marconi, the lawyer of Ms Raggi, said that he was confident his client would be able to clarify her position.

 “On the case concerning Renato Marra, we will take action so that the alleged crimes of abuse of office are dropped, “ said Marconi.

 “For the Romeo case, we are absolutely certain that we can clarify the position of the Mayor, but first we must have full knowledge of the content of the investigations,” he added.

 Head of M5S, former comedian Beppe Grillo, has backed the Mayor of Rome, despite the heavy criticism Raggi has received since taking office 12 months ago.

 ms Raggi previously said Monday that she would give herself “7.5” out of 10 for her performance since being appointed Rome’s first ever woman mayor after winning a landslide election in the summer of 2016.

 However, in addition to the controversy over her appointments, the Mayor has also faced criticism for failing to improve the city’s ailing public transport, a lack of action with regards to rubbish clearance and also ignoring the terrible quality of the capital’s streets.