A new court ruling has given the green light for the Italian state to seize 49 million euros from populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s League, casting doubts on the future of the party.
The ruling is connected to a fraud case involving former secretary Umberto Bossi and former treasurer Francesco Belsito who were both recently found guilty of fraud against the state, Il Giornale reports.
According to court documents, the new decree “provides the preventive seizure aimed at the direct confiscation of the sums of money that have been deposited or will be deposited on current accounts and bank deposits in the name or otherwise referred to the Lega Nord (Northern League) after the date of notification and execution of the decree of preventive seizure issued by the Court of Genoa on 4 September 2017, up to the amount of €48,969,617”.
Salvini Blasts Merkel for ‘Underestimating Social Conflict’ of Open Doors Migrant Policy https://t.co/BtDrLaU0XV
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The ruling is a massive blow for the party which currently tops the polls in Italy with seasoned veteran League politician Giancarlo Giorgetti, who serves as Undersecretary of State at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, commenting shortly before the decision: “If they condemn us, on September 6 we will close.”
There may be a glimmer of hope for the League in the form of an appeal, but the court has already seized €3 million from the party which has around €5 million altogether.
Salvini commented on the ruling saying: “If they want to take away everything, they can do it, we have the Italians with us, they do what they believe.”
The ruling comes after the League’s popularity has exploded in Italy, seeing the party and Salvini top several recent opinion polls ahead of their coalition partners, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), following the Interior Minister’s tough stance on illegal migration and orders to close Italian ports to migrant rescue NGOs.
Salvini and M5S leader Luigi Di Maio have also come into conflict with the European Union after the Italians proposed ending payments to the bloc until the migrant situation was resolved.