Salvini ally sacked over corruption probe

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday dismissed a member of government from the far-right League who is currently under investigation in a corruption probe.

Armando Siri, who has been a key economic adviser to League party leader Matteo Salvini, will no longer serve as an Italian transport undersecretary, Conte said, according to Italian news agency Ansa. Siri is being investigated over whether he accepted a €30,000 bribe from a businessman in return for pushing specific renewable energy policies. He denies any wrongdoing.

“There was a frank discussion at the Cabinet meeting, after which full confidence was expressed in me and the government took the right decision,” Conte said. “We are moving forward with the trust of the citizens, without which we cannot consider ourselves the government of change.”

The case has severely escalated tensions between the far-right League party and its governing partner, the 5Star Movement, which had repeatedly called for Siri to resign. League officials previously threatened to withdraw support for the prime minister if Conte stepped in.

Salvini, who is also Italy’s deputy prime minister and interior minister, has continuously defended Siri, who is also a close ally of Steve Bannon.

Members of the League party had reportedly expressed opposition to Siri’s dismissal, according to Ansa, citing unnamed party sources. But they also acknowledged that Conte had the right to ask for him to be removed.

Politico | May 8, 2019
https://www.politico.eu/article/salvini-ally-sacked-over-corruption-probe/