In relation to a case of electoral-reimbursement fraud, a Genoa court on September 6 ruled to uphold a petition from prosecutors to seize funds from Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini‘s League party.
Former League leader Umberto Bossi, former treasurer Francesco Belsito and three ex auditors have been convicted over the fraud.
As reported by the Italian news agency ANSA, they were found guilty of fraud against the state estimated at €49m between 2008 and 2010. This was before Salvini took the helm of the party in 2013 – for irregularities in electoral spending reimbursements.
Up to now around €3m have been seized from the right-wing party and its treasury currently holds around five million euros.
According to ANSA, Salvini said that he was not worried after the ruling. “It’s a past affair,” Salvini told a news conference. “I’m tranquil. The lawyers will make their decisions. If they want to take everything from us, they can go ahead. The Italian people are with us”.
Later in the day, however, Salvini posted an angry tweet: “I work for the security of the Italian people and they investigate me for KIDNAPPING (30 years in prison)”. He was referring to the probe over a recent standoff when the minister refused to let over 100 migrants rescued by the Coast Guard land in Italy.
“I work to change Italy and Europe and they block all the (party’s) current accounts over alleged mistakes that took place 10 years ago. If someone thinks that they can stop me or scare me they are mistaken. I am not giving up and I’m working with even more determination. Smiling and furious.”
In a separate report, Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, noted that Salvini, who has turned the party into a national political force since he took over in 2013, has repeatedly said that he has never seen the missing money.
The money was embezzled between 2008 and 2010 from public funds to finance political parties.