The head of Italy's wealthy Lombardy region is being investigated for corruption, prosecutors said Wednesday, as regional governments come under increased scrutiny due to the economic crisis.
Roberto Formigoni, a member of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party and the Catholic movement Communion and Liberation, is accused of getting luxury holidays and yacht rentals paid for by businessman Pierangelo Dacco.
Prosecutors say Formigoni then helped Dacco get health sector funding.
The gifts received by Formigoni are estimated at nine million euros ($11 million). In total, investigators say, the corruption was worth 70 million euros with much of the money ending up in slush funds via Swiss bank accounts.
Formigoni is due to be questioned by prosecutors on Saturday.
He has been in charge of Lombardy, Italy's most affluent region, since 1995 and has always denied media reports about corruption and cronyism and has dismissed opposition calls for his resignation.
"I read the case file and during the second reading, I said to myself: 'Is that it? Where is the corruption?' I didn't see any," Formigoni said at a news conference Wednesday.
"I'm calm, I really have nothing to fear. The facts are false, from start to finish."