Sergio Bill, the pastry shop owner from Messina who became president of the powerful Italian confederation of retail traders, Confcommercio, has submitted his voluntary resignation from the position. This follows judicial investigations into the unorthodox and possibly illegal use of the confederations funds by 15 people including Bill. Magistrates are investigating a preliminary agreement Bill made to buy a building in the exclusive Parioli area of Rome from Stefano Ricucci, a property owner who is also under investigation in a banking scandal now underway in Italy. Bill allegedly made an advance payment of 39 million using confederation funds for the building, but a contract for the purchase has yet to be completed. Both Bill and Riccuci have also been involved in unsuccessful attempts to buy stakes in publishers RCS, owners of Italys most influential daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera.
The financial police are also investigating various properties that are rented by senior members of Confcommercio at favourable rents. They have impounded works of art and furniture from Bills own flat in one of Romes most exclusive areas.