Leading Italian populist politician Umberto Bossi has resigned as head of the Northern League after a financial scandal engulfed the party.
BBC | April 5, 2012
The Northern League is the only party in opposition to the current technocratic government led by Prime Minister Mario Monti.
A former party treasurer is suspected of misusing funds.
Mr Bossi, known as a fierce critic of corruption in public life, denies any wrongdoing himself.
Northern League treasurer Francesco Belsito resigned on Tuesday after prosecutors alleged he had used party funds to pay for, among other things, the remodelling of Mr Bossi’s villa and holidays for the leader’s children.
There was no immediate comment from the former treasurer on the accusations laid against him.
News of Mr Bossi’s resignation gradually emerged on Thursday, with no comment from the leader himself.
The scandal has been all the more embarrassing for him because he has always been bitterly contemptuous of the corruption that plagues so much of Italian public life, the BBC’s Alan Johnston reports from Rome.
Mr Bossi has been one of the most colourful figures on the Italian political stage, coming to prominence on a separatist platform, our correspondent says.