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Milan Expo Manager, Former Lawmakers Arrested in Probe

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May 8 (Bloomberg) -- Italian prosecutors arrested a top manager for Milan Expo 2015 and jailed five other people in a corruption investigation that ensnared ex-lawmakers and threatened to disrupt preparations for next year’s event.

Police took Angelo Paris, head of contracts for Expo 2015, into custody and carried out 80 searches at public entities and companies in several regions of northern Italy and Rome, Milan Prosecutor Edmondo Bruti Liberati said today in an e-mailed statement. Politicians and businessmen were videotaped by police allegedly making bribes to secure Expo contracts.

A secretary who responded to a phone call to Expo 2015’s press office seeking comment on the arrests said a spokesman wasn’t immediately available to comment on the matter.

“Entrepreneurs and politicians would get together daily, in meetings where money is observed changing hands,” Bruti Liberati said in a televised press conference.

Milan won the bid in 2008 to host Expo 2015, an international event that officials estimated at the time could generate 3.7 billion euros ($5.2 billion) of revenue and economic benefits for Italy’s business capital.

The sting operation included the arrest of two former lawmakers from former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party.

The activities of unidentified national politicians came to the attention of investigators, according to the prosecutor. These politicians granted favors that were requested by the former lawmakers, Bruti Liberati said.

“At present, none of those national politicians are under investigation,” Bruti Liberati said. “The Expo is in a condition to move forward.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Frye in Rome at afrye@bloomberg.net; Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at ltotaro@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at acrawford6@bloomberg.net Dan Liefgreen, Marco Bertacche