Centre-right politician Luigi De Fanis was arrested in mid-November for various charges of bribery and corruption, but the trial has taken a new twist following the discovery of the bizarre contract, in which the 53-year-old councillor offered his secretary, Lucia Zingarellio, €36,000 a year in exchange for sexual favours.
Police found a copy of the contract in the secretary's house during a search of the property, La Repubblica reported on Thursday.
Zingariello,32, was put under house arrest in November for being an accomplice in De Fanis' bribery of small businesses in the cultural sector.
The contract had been torn into pieces and thrown in the bin, and it took weeks for investigators to put it back together and discover its unusual terms. Under the agreement, Zingariello was required to “be together” with her boss at least four times each month.
In a recent police interrogation, Zingarellio admitted honouring the contract and having a relationship with her boss, La Repubblica said. “The councillor was obsessed with me...he forced me to sign it. I couldn't refuse, I was scared,” she reportedly said.
“I want to put this all behind me, everyone is pointing the finger at me and I have done nothing. I didn't take a cent of the bribes."
She explained that although she had had a permanent job in healthcare, De Fanis offered her a job as his secretary despite her being a member of the [centre-left] Democratic Party.
Zingariello accepted the offer because her mother was ill and the three day a week job would allow her to "deal with my problems better". She explained that the second contract, requesting sex, was an obligatory second part of the deal.
The secretary reportedly told police “I didn't think I was doing anything wrong...now my life is a nightmare”.
“I can't go out in my own town, I receive anonymous phone calls insulting me. The arrest has had a devastating impact on my life, because I have a small child,” she was quoted in La Repubblica as saying.
The pair are currently under investigation for extortion, aggravated fraud and embezzlement.
The investigation includes charges of embezzlement of regional funds allocated for the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Gabriele D'Annunzio's birth, and use of the official car for private trips to Rome and Bologna.