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Mayor of Rome 'did not know' about insurance policy in her name

By : --IANS

Rome: Rome's grassroots Mayor Virginia Raggi says that she knew nothing of a 30,000-euro life assurance policy taken out in her name by her former aide Salvatore Romeo.

"I only learned today about the insurance policy that Romeo took out in my name," Raggi told reporters late on Thursday after coming out of an eight-hour grilling by prosecutors.

Raggi had been quizzed in a separate probe in which she is accused of abuse of office and false testimony over the hiring of Renato Marra, brother of the former city council personnel chief Raffaele Marra, as Rome tourism chief.

"I cleared everything up," Raggi said.

"I'm am moving forward," she said.

She also told reporters she had the trust of Beppe Grillo, leader of the Five-Star movement to which she belongs.

Romeo, reportedly took out the insurance policy in Raggi's name in January 2016, six months before he got his highly paid job as cabinet chief and almost tripled his previous salary.

Grillo in late December forced Raggi to sack Romeo, as well as her then Deputy Mayor Daniele Frongia. Renato Marra was also removed from his post in December. The dismissals followed Raffaele Marra's arrest and the resignation of Raggi's environment councillor Paola Muraro over alleged malpractice.

The stream of graft and cronyism allegations that have hit Raggi's administration are a deep embarrassment to the Five-Star Movement, which presents itself as a squeaky-clean alternative to the country's corruption-plagued traditional parties. Opinion polls suggest it could beat the ruling centre-left Democratic Party in the next national elections due in 2018.

The hashtag '#Sendherbackwhereyougotherfrom# was trending on Twitter Friday as Five-Star Movement reeled from news of a fresh scandal to hit Raggi.

"Can someone put an insurance policy in my name? I'll return the favour with a top job," a supporter wrote on Facebook.

"Could this really have been done without her (Raggi's) knowledge?", another activist wrote.

"Who did we elect?" the activist added.

'Policy-gate' is the latest scandal to embroil Raggi, who was elected mayor in landslide victory last June on a transparency and anti-corruption ticket.

A recent survey ranked Raggi the second least popular of Italian mayors.

By : --IANS
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