Rome mayor risks trial over city appointments

Raggi vows to continue even if indicted.

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi risks prosecution on charges of abuse of office and for making false public statements, following the conclusion of a six-month investigation by Rome prosecutors into an appointments case, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

Raggi, a member of the anti-establishment Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S), is suspected of abuse of office in appointing close associate Salvatore Romeo as her top political adviser, tripling his salary. The fraud allegations relate to the proposed appointment – subsequently withdrawn – of Renato Marra as head of the capital’s tourism department.

The mayor insists that the highly-paid appointment had nothing to do with Marra being the brother of the once-powerful Raffaele Marra, Raggi’s former right-hand man and city personnel chief who was arrested in December over alleged corruption.

Rome prosecutors are also investigating abuse of office charges against Raggi in the appointment of her former chief of staff Carla Rainieri, who stood down from her €193,000 city post last September after Italy’s anti-corruption authority (ANAC) ruled that her nomination was improper. However it is believed that although Rainieri's appointment may not have been legitimate it does not constitute grounds for criminal proceedings.

Raggi, who says that her “conscience is clear”, denies wrongdoing in all cases and has vowed to continue in office even if she is indicted. Raggi says she has no plans to resign.

The six-month investigation into the city appointments concluded the day after Raggi awarded herself “7.5 out of ten” on the anniversary of her first year as mayor of Rome.