Italian ex-minister jailed for nine years over bribery

Rome, July 23: A court in Italy has sentenced former economic minister and former president of Abruzzo region Ottaviano Del Turco to nine and a half years in jail for his involvement in bribery in the health sector.

Del Turco was arrested five years ago in connection with a major 15-million-euro ($19 million) fraud in the financing of the public health system in his native Abruzzo region in central Italy.

There are two more levels of appeal before the sentence would become final.

"I will certainly appeal the verdict," Del Turco said.

A total of 27 local councillors, public and private managers as well as two companies were indicted on charges of fraud, corruption, embezzlement and money laundering in the health scandal.

Several of them were given jail terms ranging from two to nine years.

Del Turco, a former socialist trade union leader, served as head of parliament's anti-mafia commission. In 2000, he was named economic minister in the government led by then prime minister Giuliano Amato.


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