Europe

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi's right-hand man' Raffaele Marra arrested

Rome's Mayor Virginia Raggi leaves Rome's Vittoriano Unknown soldier monument Image copyright AP
Image caption Virginia Raggi (pictured) was elected as mayor of Rome in June

A top aide of Rome's new mayor has been arrested on suspicion of corruption, months after the politician was elected promising to clean up local government.

Raffaele Marra was arrested on Friday, as part of an investigation of business deals dating from 2013.

Mr Marra is the head of personnel in city hall and is considered Mayor Virginia Raggi's right-hand man.

Ms Raggi is the populist Five-Star Movement's highest profile elected representative.

The party prides itself on being ethical and having no links to what it sees as a "caste" of sleaze-addicted cronies it says have dominated Italian politics for decades.

But Mr Marra's arrest comes days after Ms Raggi's top environmental adviser resigned following the revelation she was under investigation.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The investigation into Raffaele Marra is not linked to the current administration

The two investigations, which are not linked, will put pressure on Ms Raggi, whose success is seen as crucial for the Five-Star Movement ahead of national elections.

Mr Marra's case is not linked to any council activity, but offices at the city hall were raided.


What is Five Star?

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Beppe Grillo has gradually reduced his role in the party in favour of younger politicians
  • Founded by comedian Beppe Grillo in 2009, Five Star has long campaigned against corruption in Italian politics
  • Launched as a protest party, it won 25.5% of the vote and 108 seats in the 2013 general election
  • It is now neck and neck in the opinion polls with the ruling Democratic Party, with around 31% of the vote
  • New leaders have emerged, such as deputy parliament speaker Luigi Di Maio
  • Five Star wants greater public transparency, income support for the poor and tax cuts for small businesses
  • It wants Italians to have a vote on whether to remain in the eurozone

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