Italy’s 82-year old European Affairs Minister Paolo Savona is under investigation for usury.
The case entails his service as a top manager at Unicredit, Italy’s biggest lender.
The case involves a number of prominent bankers, including Alessandro Profumo that now leads the aerospace giant Leonardo, and Fabio Gallia, at the helm of the state-owned bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP).
Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said the government knew of the investigation and will not ask for Savona’s resignation. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini expressed the wish that Savona was swiftly cleared of all charges.
The alleged usury took place over the course of a decade and allegedly involved transactions at Rolo Banca 1473, which was subsequently taken over by Unicredit.
Savona is a firebrand Eurosceptic who entered politics after serving as minister for industry in the short-lived technocratic government of Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in the early 1990s. He is a known as an open critic of the Single Currency and famously likened the Eurozone to a German prison.
Savona’s proposed appointment as economy minister was vetoed by Italian President Sergio Matterella. In order for the President to consent to the formation of a government, the leader of the 5- Star Movement offered a compromise, giving Savona his current “European Affairs” portfolio.