Jail for Lombardy regional councillor Zambetti

Zambetti sentenced for vote rigging

Former regional councillor Domenico Zambetti has been sentenced to 13½ years for paying the ‘Ndrangheta to rig votes in his favour in the 2010 regional elections.

He was also ordered to pay €500,000 to the region and a further €200,000 to the city of Milan for damages, and was excluded for life from holding public office. His lawyers say he will appeal the sentence.

Prosecutors told the Milan court that Zambetti had paid two members of the ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabria-based organised crime syndicate, €200,000 to buy 4,000 votes when he was a candidate for Silvio Berlusconi’s Popolo della Liberta (PdL) party, since defunct.

In the same trial, two other defendants were handed sentences of 12 and 16½ years respectively for connivance with the Calabrian mafia group. But defendant Alfredo Celeste, former mayor of greater Milan comune Sedriano, Lombardy’s first town council to be dissolved for infiltration by the mafia in 2013, was acquitted.

Sedriano is now administered by Beppe Grillo’s Movimento 5 Stelle (M5s)

Zambetti’s arrest in October 2012 brought to 13 the number of councillors and members of the regional assembly placed under investigation. These include former Lombardy governor for 17 years, senator Roberto Formigoni (also a PdL member), sentenced last December to six years for corruption. He was also banned from holding public office, in his case for six years, and sentenced to pay €3 million damages to the Lombardy regional council.