Angelo Paris, head of contracts for the trade fair, which runs in Milan between May and October next year, is in custody, Milan Prosecutor Edmondo Bruti Liberati told the financial newswire in an e-mailed statement.
Police carried out searches at 80 public entities and firms in parts of northern Italy and Rome, with businessmen and politicians being snared on video allegedly taking bribes to secure Expo contracts.
“Entrepreneurs and politicians would get together daily, in meetings where money is observed changing hands,” Bruti Liberati said in a televised press conference.
The probe included the arrest of two former politicians for Silvio Berlusconi's party. The dealings of unidentified national politicians reportedly came to the attention of investigators, who granted favours on behalf of the former politicians.
“At present, none of those national politicians are under investigation,” Bruti Liberati was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.
“The Expo is in a condition to move forward.”
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Milan won the bid to host the event in 2008, which at the time was estimated could bring the city €3.7 billion in revenue and economic benefits.