This morning in Sicily, the Carabinieri (Italy’s military police) of Palermo placed three suspects under house arrest as part of an investigation by the Palermo office of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). The three suspects – two public officials and one private accountant – were arrested for unlawful inducement to give or promise money.
The investigation, carried out between October and December 2021 by the EPPO Investigative Section of the Palermo Carabinieri Provincial HQ, made it possible to acquire strong elements against two high-ranking public officials working for the Palermo social housing offices, with the complicity of a private accountant.
It is alleged that the two public officials proposed, to the contractor of a renovation project – a social housing complex worth €1.5 million and located in the so-called ‘ZEN neighbourhood’ of Palermo – to carry out part of the renovation on paper only, and to split the resulting money between the two officials and the contractor. Moreover, they are suspected of having asked the contractor to hire the private accountant to oversee the transactions.
In doing so, the public officials would have abused their powers and would have potentially embezzled part of the sums of money allocated to the construction works.
The renovation project was part of the ‘RUIS Palermo’ project (urban regeneration and security project of the City of Palermo), which is financed by the European Union’s Cohesion Fund.
Searches of the Palermo social housing offices are still ongoing.
Today's operation is the first joint action between the EPPO Investigative Section of the Carabinieri Palermo Provincial HQ and the European Public Prosecutor's Office.