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Italy quake mayor quits over graft

AFP-JIJI

The mayor of the Italian town of L’Aquila — partially destroyed in a 2009 earthquake that killed 309 people — stepped down Saturday following a corruption scandal involving members of his team.

“I have no legitimacy left. I am tired. I am angry. I have suffered a full-on media attack. That is why I am resigning,” Massimo Cialente told reporters.

Four people from his administration were placed under house arrest Wednesday for alleged bribery linked to reconstruction contracts following the earthquake in the central Italian town.

Four more have been notified they are under investigation, including Deputy Mayor Roberto Riga and a local official in charge of restoring damaged monuments.

Police said the eight people under investigation received a total of $680,000 in kickbacks from construction firms.

They are also accused of falsifying papers to receive $1.6 million in public funds and one is suspected of profiting from the sale of post-quake housing.