Italian mayor resigns over mafia allegations

Rome, Jan 21 (IANS/AKI) The mayor of the southern Italian town of Quarto on Thursday said she was resigning “in a gesture of love” after a criminal probe alleged the Naples mafia had backed her election and infiltrated her administration.

“This is a defeat for politics but it is also a victory for the Camorra,” Rosa Capuozzo told the media, adding she would not run for mayor of Quarto again.
Capuozzo was elected as Quarto’s mayor for the grassroots Five-Star Movement list. On Tuesday she appeared before the Italian parliament’s anti-mafia commission and was questioned by prosecutors for several hours.
Last week, she was ejected from the Five-Star Movement after initially refusing to resign following the anti-mafia investigation. She is now at the centre of a bitter row with the party, which has built its success on its anti-corruption stance and clean party image.
Capuozzo claims she told her former party’s leaders about blackmail threats she received from former councillor Giovanni De Robbio, who was expelled from the Five-Star movement last year after wiretaps from an anti-mafia investigation suggested he was linked to the Camorra.
Capuozzo’s husband Ignazio Baiano is under investigation by Naples prosecutors for alleged false declarations and breaches of building regulations which may have been used by De Robbio to blackmail Capuozzo, according to anti-mafia prosecutors probing Quarto.
Before Capuozzo won power in Quarto last year, the previous administration was dissolved over alleged mafia links.