Tourism Minister Daniela Santanchè today reiterated she has still not received official notice of an alleged probe against her. She also insisted she will not step down.
An investigative journalism programme, Report, on Rai 3 made allegations about Santanchè’sprivate business dealings.The programme reported businesses linked to her allegedly failed to pay suppliers and dismissed workers without giving them redundancy payments, as well as allegedly improperly receiving COVID aid.
Santanché was speaking at the farmers’ association Confagricoltura assembly in Rome. “Me take a step back? I don’t see why I should,” the minister told those present.
“Today, as I speak, I have still not received any notice of an investigation. Some newspapers are writing big lies, and so we will file a complaint and ask for damages. I am totally calm,” said Santanchè.
“My grandfather taught me not to be afraid if you haven’t done anything wrong,” the minister added.
“I’m pressing ahead. No one has ever accused me in my duties as a minister,” she said.
Santanchè facing calls to quit
Santanchè, a top exponent of Premier Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, has been facing calls to quit since Rai 3 made the allegations.
Last week she briefed parliament on the issue. She told lawmakers she was not under criminal investigation and had been the victim of “dirty, disgusting practices” by the media.
Media subsequently reported she has been under investigation since October along with five other people who had roles in the businesses. Those include her sister Fiorella Garnero and her partner Dimitri Kuntz D’Asburgo.
Speaking from the NATO summit in Vilnius on Wednesday, Meloni described the issue as “very complex”.
“It has to be seen on its merits when its merits are fully known, but I think that is up to the courtrooms and not to the TV broadcasts,” she said, adding that, unlike a case involving Justice Undersecretary Andrea Delmastro, the matter is “not political”.
The minister is supported by PM Meloni, who said, “It does not concern her activity as minister, which she is doing very well”.