Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Tuesday, 4 May 2010 15:29 UK

Italian minister resigns over corruption allegations

taly"s minister for economic development Claudio Scajola announces his resignation to the press on May 4, 2010
Mr Scajola resigned from office in 2002 amid acrimony

Italy's minister for economic development has resigned over allegations that he has been involved in corruption.

Minister Claudio Scajola is accused of paying for a luxury apartment in Rome with money from a developer caught up in a legal investigation.

He denies any wrongdoing and says he will clear his name.

Prosecutors say the money used to buy the flat could be traced to a businessman involved in corruption.

Opposition leaders say the government is in a quagmire.

Mr Scajola's resignation comes at a delicate time for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose government has been shaken recently by rumours of internal rifts within his own party, the People of Freedom (PDL), says the BBC's Emma Wallis in Rome.

This is not the first time Mr Scajola has had to step down from office.

In 2002 he was forced to resign from a previous Berlusconi government, when a labour minister aide who had had his police escort removed by Mr Scajola was assassinated.

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