Riace mayor Domenico Lucano after a hearing on his release at the Libertà courthouse in Reggio Calabria on October 16, 2018 | Photo: ANSA/ MARCO COSTANTINO
Riace mayor Domenico Lucano after a hearing on his release at the Libertà courthouse in Reggio Calabria on October 16, 2018 | Photo: ANSA/ MARCO COSTANTINO

Prosecutors have ended their investigation regarding the mayor of Riace, Italy. They want to charge Mimmo Lucano with migrant reception irregularities, fraud, false accounting, complicity in corruption, abuse of power and embezzlement. But Lucano denies the charges against him.

The prosecutor's office in Locri, Calabria, has ended an investigation into the mayor of Riace, Domenico "Mimmo" Lucano, who is currently suspended from the position. The decision will soon be made whether the case against Lucano will go forward. 

Investigators have notified Lucano and the other 30 placed under investigation in the so-called Xenia probe that the inquiry has been concluded. 

Lucano has been accused of serious crimes, but prosecutors so far have only charged him with some of the lesser accusations against him. 

On October 2, the preliminary investigative judge presiding over the case charged the Riace mayor with aiding and abetting clandestine immigration and illegal acts in relation to waste management contracts. However, the judge rejected the prosecutors' allegations of criminal association, complicity in corruption, abuse of office, and embezzlement. The prosecutor's office then filed an appeal against the rejection of these charges. 

Lucano 'is calm'

"I am at peace with my conscience because I have not done anything. To the contrary, I sought to help in a humane manner and I did not take advantage of anything even at the economic level," Lucano said. 

Now Lucano, who was released from house arrest on October 16, has to decide alongside his lawyers whether to speak to the prosecutors again or to file a written petition. He then will have to wait for the prosecutor office's decisions and, almost certainly, deal with an indictment request. In the meantime, he has been placed under a ban on leaving his municipality.

This is a significant transition for the man who has transformed Riace, which was a virtually ghost town - depopulated due to a lack of jobs - into a unique Italian and international success story. His migrant reception model earned Lucano the 40th place of the 50 most influential world leaders in rankings drawn up by the US-based Forbes magazine, and has made Riace known worldwide as a model town for integration. 

"There are those judging us and they will know what to do. I hope that their conscience prevails," Lucano said. 
 

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