ROME (Reuters) - An Italian junior health minister has been put under investigation in a widening influence-peddling scandal that has prompted the resignation of the industry minister and is embarrassing Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
Prosecutors in the southern city of Potenza are investigating health undersecretary Vito De Filippo on suspicion that he used his influence to try to get people jobs at state oil company Eni, according to legal documents seen by Reuters.
De Filippo, a member of Renzi’s Democratic Party and a former governor of the Basilicata region around Potenza, could not be immediately reached for comment. His press office declined to comment.
This month Industry Minister Federica Guidi stepped down after tapped telephone conversations appeared to show her assuring her partner the government would pass legislation that helped his energy business.
The investigation, which has dominated Italian news headlines in recent weeks, centers on possible wrongdoing surrounding the development of an oil field in Basilicata.
It has already led to the arrest of five Eni employees for alleged illegal waste trafficking and to an erosion of support for Renzi and his government, according to opinion polls.
Italy’s largest opposition party, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), and the right-wing Northern League both called for De Filippo’s resignation.
“Who will be the next member of the government to be investigated? They must all go now!” M5S founder Beppe Grillo said on his blog.
All the main opposition parties have presented motions of no-confidence in Renzi’s government over the Basilicata scandal. The motions are expected to be debated in parliament next week.
Reporting by Vincenzo Damiani; Writing by Gavin Jones; Editing by Mark Heinrich