Venice mayor resigns after reaching plea deal in sweeping corruption scandal

The Associated Press
June 13, 2014 03:41 AM

FILE - In this file photo taken on April 8, 2010, Venice's mayor Giorgio Orsoni is pictured at Ca Farsetti palace in Venice, Italy. Venice's mayor has resigned amid a corruption scandal a day after being released from house arrest under a plea deal. Mayor Giorgio Orsoni announced his resignation Friday June 13, 2014, indicating a lack of support from the Democratic Party since his arrest last week in a wide-ranging corruption probe related to construction of underwater barriers to protect the lagoon city from flooding. (AP Photo/Luigi Costantini, File)

MILAN - Venice's mayor resigned Friday, just a day after being released from house arrest and resuming work under a plea deal over illegal political financing.

Mayor Giorgio Orsoni indicated a lack of support from the Democratic Party since his arrest last week in a wide-ranging corruption probe related to construction of underwater barriers to protect the lagoon city from flooding. Several city council members had called for his resignation overnight.

Orsoni told a news conference that there "had been opportunistic and hypocritical reactions" against him since his arrest, also from within the city administration.

Orsoni, who ran for the Democratic Party without ever officially joining its ranks, has said he was unaware that any donations to his 2010 election campaign were illegal. He was released from house arrest Thursday after accepting a four-month sentence in a plea agreement. Such short sentences are rarely served in Italy.

Orsoni was among more than 30 people arrested in an investigation into suspicions that the consortium building the underwater barriers amassed a 25-million-euro ($34 million) slush fund abroad to bribe officials.

A series of corruption scandals have increased pressure on Italy's premier to tackle endemic corruption. The government is expected to enact new measures, including enhancing the powers of a newly appointed anti-corruption czar, later Friday.


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