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Italian governor under house arrest amid corruption probe

Giovanni Toti, president of Italy's Liguria region, has been placed under house arrest amid an investigation into allegations he granted political favors for money.

The governor of the Italian region surrounding the port city of Genoa was placed under house arrest Tuesday as part of a corruption investigation by prosecutors alleging he granted political favors in exchange for money.

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Giovanni Toti, president of the Liguria region, was "serene and convinced he’ll be able to explain everything," said his lawyer, Stefano Savi.

According to the judge’s order signing off on the arrest, Toti was accused of doing favors for local figures in exchange for money to fund four local elections in 2021 and 2022. Members of Toti’s staff and Genoa businessmen, including some involved in the city’s all-important port, were implicated in the investigation.

In a statement, the regional government of Liguria said it was certain that Toti had "always acted in the exclusive interests of Liguria." The council named the vice-president of the region to temporarily take over all administrative functions.

Justice Minister Carlo Nordio said he was "perplexed" by the decision to place Toti under pretrial house arrest, saying such restrictive measures are rarely used for an investigation of this type, the LaPresse news agency reported.

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