Open under investigation

A total of 11 people face charges as part of an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the funding of Open, a group that backed former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s political activities. Renzi, a former mayor of Florence, accused prosecutors in the Tuscan city of abusing their power during their probe, which has dragged on for years and which he insists will “draw a blank.” “I am innocent,” the 47-year-old told Radio Leopolda.  A pre-trial hearing has been set for April 4, and a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to proceed to a full trial. The probe, which began in 2019, followed allegations that money from the Open foundation was illegally used by Renzi during his rise from mayor to head of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) before becoming prime minister in 2014. Prosecutors argue Renzi was the de facto director of Open, which received 3.5 million euros from wealthy backers – money he and allies spent on political activities. One such expense was the chartering by Renzi in 2018 of a jet for 135,000 euros, paid for by Open, to get him to a Robert Kennedy memorial service in the U.S., according to Repubblica, which cited prosecution documents. The probe also targets another 10 people including two ex-ministers close to Renzi, plus four companies, one of which is British American Tobacco Italia. Renzi stands accused of the crime of illegal financing of political parties, along with former president of Open, Alberto Bianchi, and ex-ministers Maria Elena Boschi and Luca Lotti. Among the alleged crimes are illegal party financing, corruption, money laundering, and trafficking of influence.

Undici persone sono sotto un’indagine criminale per le irregolarità nel finanziamento di Open, un gruppo che ha sostenuto le attività politiche dell'ex Ministro Matteo Renzi. Renzi continua a dichiarare che è innocente. L’udienza preliminare sarà il 4 aprile e un giudice deciderà se ci sono prove sufficienti per procedere a un processo completo. L’indagine è iniziata nel 2019 quando c’erano le accuse che i soldi donati da Open fossero spesi illegalmente. Per esempio, Renzi ha speso 135.000 euro per volare su un jet nel 2018 al memoriale di Robert Kennedy negli Stati Uniti. Secondo La Repubblica, ci sono 10 altre persone e 4 agenzie (include British American Tobacco Italia) che sono parte dell’indagine contro Renzi. Alberto Bianchi, Maria Elena Boschi, e Luca Lotti sono anche stati accusati per corruzione, riciclaggio di denaro, ed altri crimini.