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News | Sunday, 31 January 2010

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Bologna mayor Delbono under investigation on Malta property

Italian investigators are reportedly looking into the acquisition details of an upmarket property in Malta by disgraced Bologna mayor Flavio Delbono, who resigned his post this week ,causing political mayhem in the traditionally centre-left stronghold.
He is under investigation for alleged embezzlement of council funds; abuse of power and fraud while he was in office and while he was involved in a romantic relationship with his secretary Cinzia Cracci.
According to the magistrate, Delbono used council funds to partly finance a private holiday in Cancun (Mexico) with his lover, while he was also quizzed about the purchase of a property in Malta.
The former mayor was nailed by his former secretary, who revealed the details on Delbono’s private life, including the Malta affair and his dealings with the original property owner Mirko Divani – who had worked with the Bologna council as a consultant.
The property, said to be located in St Julian’s, was originally acquired by Divani in 2001 for an undisclosed sum. He subsequently told Delbono that the place was for sale in 2003.
He told the magistrate he paid €10,000 as deposit for the purchase of the property, however the deal fell through and he consequently asked Divani for a refund which the latter didn’t have the funds to cover. To counter the debt, Divani gave Delbono an unnamed debit card issued by Farbanca and asked him to withdraw not more than €500 a month from it.
But Delbono gave this bank card to his lover for her personal shopping, and he knew that the withdrawals made from this account started to be in excess of €1,000 or even €5,000 in a month.
Meanwhile, Delbono stressed that he was resigning his post as it was the “right thing” to do given the circumstances, and while announcing he was to return to lecturing at Bologna’s university, he was working hard to clear his name.


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