Top adviser to Rome mayor arrested in new setback

ROME (AP) — Police on Friday arrested a key adviser to Rome’s mayor in a corruption investigation, dealing yet another blow to the populist 5-Star Movement’s highest-profile officeholder.

Raffaele Marra, the head of personnel in City Hall and considered Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi’s right-hand man, was arrested in an investigation of business deals dating from 2013 when Marra worked for a previous administration.

The arrest came a day after police searched City Hall and seized records about disputed city appointments, and follows the resignation of Raggi’s top environmental adviser, who is the subject of a separate investigation.

The setbacks renewed pressure on Raggi’s administration. She is the top office-holder of the populist 5-Star Movement, which has been pressing for new parliamentary elections following the political crisis that forced the formation of a new government.

Meanwhile in Milan, Mayor Giuseppe Sala has announced he will step aside after he reportedly was added as a suspect to an ongoing investigation into contracts for the Expo 2015 world’s fair, which he ran before his election. Sala said in a statement late Thursday that he was notified only by the media that he had been placed under investigation and that he was unaware of the allegations against him.

Sala’s name was added to the suspect list after a judge refused a prosecutor’s request to archive the case. The chief Milan prosecutor, who has taken over the case, has requested another six months to complete the investigation.

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