Italy: Son of last king facing trial on criminal charges

Potenza, 24 Sept. (AKI) - Prosecutors in the southern Italian city of Potenza have sent to trial the former crown prince, Victor Emanuel, for criminal association aimed at corrupting public officials. He has been implicated as a client of a high-class prostitution ring.

"I have heard from my father and he is calm," said Victor Emanuel's son Emanuele Filiberto.

"We have faith in Italian justice and in the trial which will take place. We will see what happens."

Victor Emanuel, 72, was among 13 people arrested on 16 June 2006 as part of an investigation into corruption and prostitution at the request of Potenza's former public prosecutor, Henry John Woodcock.

He was arrested near the northern city of Lecco as part of a police operation focusing on the activities of a casino in northern Italy.

Among those detained was a top aide to the foreign minister in a former government lead by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Following a week-long detention in 2006, Victor Emanuel (centre in photo) was placed under house arrest in the Italian capital, Rome.

A dozen other people were also detained or put under house arrest.

Reports said investigators suspected Victor Emanuel of having contacts with the Mafia and of helping procure prostitutes for clients of a casino in Campione d'Italia, an Italian enclave on Lake Lugano near the Swiss border.

Victor Emanuel, is also known as the prince of Venice and Piedmont. He was acquitted or murder charges by a French court in 1989.

Victor Emanuel made an official return to Italy in March 2003, after 56 years of exile imposed on the family of his grandfather King Victor Emmanuel III after World War II.

King Victor Emmanuel III and his family were expelled from Italy in 1946 for supporting the regime of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and approving the laws which marked the start of the wartime persecution and deportation of Italian Jews.

The Italian parliament in 2002 gave final approval to allow the family to return to Italy.

Victor Emanuel is the son of Umberto, Prince of Piedmont, who reigned briefly as Italy's last king in 1946.


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