Riace mayor Domenico Lucano in Caulonia Marina after leaving the Locride center, complying with the ban on residency ordered by the appeals court on October 17, 2018 | Photo: ANSA/MARCO COSTANTINO
Riace mayor Domenico Lucano in Caulonia Marina after leaving the Locride center, complying with the ban on residency ordered by the appeals court on October 17, 2018 | Photo: ANSA/MARCO COSTANTINO

The court of appeals has upheld a residency ban on suspended mayor Domenico Lucano. Lucano is being accused of fraud, of aiding and abetting clandestine immigration, and of abuse of office. The former mayor has insisted that he is innocent.

Suspended mayor Domenico Lucano seems destined to remain in exile from Riace, the southern Italian town where he was mayor for many years and in which he implemented a migrant reception model that made Riace famous throughout the world.

The Court of Cassation - the highest Italian court - had lifted the residency ban, but asked the local court that banned Lucano from Riace to examine the case again. On April 11, the Reggio Calabria Court of Appeals upheld their original decision - and thus decided Lucano would still not be allowed to set foot in Riace.

Judges' assessment remains the same

Nothing seems to have changed in the judges' assessment of the case connected to the "Xenia" probe, conducted by the Locri prosecutor's office, which in October had led to Lucano being put under house arrest. Lucano has been accused of aiding and abetting clandestine immigration and abuse of office in connection with a waste management contract managed by the Riace municipality when Lucano was mayor.

Prosecutors say that the waste contract was awarded to a cooperative formed by a group of migrants in a SPRAR network project managed by the municipality without proper vetting.

The trial against Lucano and 26 others is set to begin on June 11 at the Locri court.

Eight alleged incidents of fraud

In the new legal proceedings, Lucano and 9 other people have been accused of a total of eight cases of fraud. They are accused of deceiving the interior ministry and Reggio Calabria prefect's office. According to the Locri prosecutor's office, Lucano allegedly signed documents saying that migrant reception facilities in Riace were in compliance with regulations, even though they lacked essential certificates.

The court case against Lucano has been controversial - some of the mayor's supporters see the investigation as part of a “political war” waged by anti-immigrant forces in the Italian government.


 

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