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Rome’s former mayor gets six years in jail for corruption

A former mayor of Rome was sentenced to six years in prison Monday for his part in the infiltration of organised crime into the capital, and immediately vowed to appeal.

Rome's former mayor gets six years in jail for corruption
Gianni Alemanno served as Rome mayor from 2008 to 2013. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

“I'm innocent, I have always said it and I will repeat it before the judges on appeal,” said Gianni Alemanno, mayor of the city from 2008 to 2013, who was convicted of corruption.

He and his legal team will launch an appeal as soon as they have read the ruling, Alemanno told reporters.

In the 2015 Mafia Capitale scandal, investigators uncovered a vast network of influence-peddling taking in criminals, businessmen and politicians. In all, prosecutors sent 46 defendants for trial.

They accused Alemanno of having received more than 200,000 euros from various sources in return for appointing a key figure in the scandal to a senior post.

Prosecutors said he also directed city funds to a cooperative run by another figure in the network of corruption.

The head of the network was Massimo Carminati, a former far-right activist already convicted of membership of a criminal gang in the capital in the 1980s.

According to the indictment, his right-hand man was Salvatore Buzzi, the head of a cooperative that worked for the Rome city council. Buzzi served as an intermediary between the political world and the criminal network run by Carminati.

Both men were convicted on appeal in a separate trial in September 2018. Carminati was sentenced to 14 and a half years in jail; Buzzi to 18 years and four months.

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ROME

‘I love Italy’: Jason Momoa apologises over Sistine Chapel photos

US actor Jason Momoa apologised after fans reacted angrily to him taking snaps in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel despite a strict photography ban.

'I love Italy': Jason Momoa apologises over Sistine Chapel photos

Anyone who has visited the Sistine Chapel will recall the firm and repeated warnings from security staff: “no photos, please”.

But there has been an outcry in Italy and beyond after ‘Aquaman’ star Jason Momoa apparently paid to be allowed to disregard this rule on a recent visit to the Vatican City with friends.

Momoa. 42, is currently in Rome shooting ‘Fast X’, the 10th installment in the ‘Fast & Furious’ film saga.

He posted snaps and videos of himself on May 9th posing below the famous frescoes painted by Michelangelo with friends and what appear to be Vatican Museums staff.

But disgruntled fans quickly pointed out in the comments that visitors are typically forbidden from taking photos or videos in the chapel.
 
“We can’t take pics but celebrities can, nothing against Jason (I adore him) but it’s not fair,” one person wrote.

“All I remember about that place was ‘no photos please’,” another person wrote.

Others took issue with a video showing him reaching over a rope barrier to touch a sculpture. 

“I cringed when he rubbed his hands on the art … not cool, dude,” one person commented.

On Saturday, Momoa posted another video in which he apologised for causing offence.
 
“If you ever thought I disrespected your culture, that wasn’t my intention,” he said in the video, in which he appears shirtless in the gym apparently following a workout.
 
He said he had given the chapel “a wonderful donation to bring my friends and crew because we only had a couple days off to go experience these places.”

“I would never want to do anything to disrespect someone’s culture,” he added.

“So if I did, I apologise and it wasn’t my intention. And I definitely paid to have that private moment and gave a nice donation to the church.”

The Sistine Chapel and the rest of the Vatican Museums complex is currently open to visitors as normal, following closures and limitations on visitor numbers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Regular online tickets cost €17 (around $21) via the official Vatican website. It is also possible to book a two-hour private tour of the Vatican Museums for €78 per person – though the booking website doesn’t mention any exceptions to the photography ban in the Sistine Chapel.

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