20 people could face corruption trial over Roma stadium
ROME (AP) — Twenty people risk being ordered to stand trial for alleged corruption in the long-delayed plans to build a new stadium for Roma.
However, the ANSA news agency reports that neither Roma nor any of its management members are implicated in the scandal.
Prosecutors in Rome wrapped up their investigation on Tuesday, nearly five months after the stadium's main constructor, Luca Parnasi, and eight other people were arrested for alleged wrongdoing linked to bureaucratic matters involving the proposed venue.
Prosecutors allege that Parnasi led a network that committed a "series of felonies against public governance in order to maintain decisions favorable to the building of Roma's stadium and other projects."
Others at risk include Luca Lanzalone, the former president of Rome's energy supplier ACEA; Andrea Palozzi, a former vice president of the Lazio region encompassing Rome; Michele Civita, the region's official charged with local development; and Francesco Prosperetti, Rome's top cultural official.
All of the accused deny wrongdoing.
Prosecutors also allege that payments were made illegally in cash, along with bills for non-existent job hires and counseling.
Other likely charges include criminal association and illegal financing.
Roma's American president, James Pallotta, first presented the stadium plan in March 2014, saying that it would be ready for the 2016-17 season — yet construction has still not started.
The massive project — set to include a training center, entertainment complex, office space and extensive transportation works — has been delayed by environmental concerns, bureaucracy and criticism over public funding.
The project's cost was originally estimated at 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion), including more than 200 million euros in public financing.
The proposed stadium site in Tor di Valle is about halfway between downtown and Leonardo Da Vinci Airport.
With a design inspired by the Colosseum, the stadium is slated to seat 52,500 and be expandable to 60,000 for major matches.
Roma currently shares the 72,000-seat Stadio Olimpico with city rival Lazio.