Italy's Umberto Bossi investigated for fraud
Umberto Bossi, the founder of Italy's main opposition party the Northern League, is under investigation for fraud, Italian authorities have said.
He and his two sons are suspected of "illicit appropriation" of party funds amid allegations they used the money for home improvements and cars.
Bossi, known as a fierce critic of corruption in public life, resigned as head of his party last month as it became engulfed in financial scandal.
The family deny the allegations.
Prosecutor Edmondo Bruti Liberati said in a statement that Umberto Bossi has been formally notified that he is under investigation, along with his sons, Renzo and Riccardo.
Reports in the Italian media emerged in April suggesting that state funds meant to pay for electoral campaigning were used by the family to pay for house repairs, luxury car rentals and even dental work.Corruption
Umberto Bossi was a politician who cast himself as a champion of northern Italy, the BBC's Rome correspondent Alan Johnston, says.
A central part of Mr Bossi's appeal to the electorate was a scathing contempt for the corruption that is so widespread in Italian politics
He portrayed the north as being drained of its hard-earned wealth by what he regarded as the scheming politicians of the corrupt south.
But he has himself been brought down by reports of exactly the kind of scandal that he so often railed against, Alan Johnson says.
Despite its opposition, Umberto Bossi's party formed coalition governments with the right-wing parties supporting the governments of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The Northern League is the only party in opposition to the current technocratic government led by Prime Minister Mario Monti.
Following Mr Bossi's resignation, the party instantly gave him the honorary position of president.
But, our correspondent says, it is unclear how much influence that position will give Mr Bossi as the investigation progresses.