Italian government presents tougher anti-corruption bill

The Italian government Friday presented a bill of stricter rules to fight widespread corruption, days after a high-profile probe uncovered a mafia-style criminal ring in the country`s capital.

Rome: The Italian government Friday presented a bill of stricter rules to fight widespread corruption, days after a high-profile probe uncovered a mafia-style criminal ring in the country`s capital.

The bill includes harsher penalties for certain corruption-related offenses. Minimum penalty will be increased from four to six years in jail, while maximum penalty will be brought from eight to 10 years in jail, Xinhua reported.

The statute of limitations on corruption offences will be lengthened. Currently, as criminal corruption often comes to light many years after the fact, thousand judicial proceedings are dissolved before reaching final sentencing.

The bill, which will have to go through parliamentary procedure for approval, will also make it easier for authorities to seize assets from those definitively convicted for corruption.

"We are ready to ask for a confidence vote in parliament if necessary ... we want to rush," Prime Minister Matteo Renzi told a press conference presenting the bill after a cabinet meeting.

"There are occasions of plea bargain which allow those responsible to avoid jail and escape restitution. The rules of the game must be changed," he stressed.

The government`s move came after a two-year-old investigation unveiled in the past days strong connections between the criminal world and the political scene in Rome.

Police arrested dozen people and put more than 100 under investigation, including former Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno.

"We will not leave Rome to the thieves ... Rome is too important and too beautiful to be left in the hands of this scum," Renzi said earlier this week commenting on the scandal.

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