Italian party expels official in funds scandal

The Northern League, an anti-immigrant, anti-corruption movement in Italy, expelled from its ranks Thursday a top Senate official implicated in an investigation of suspected embezzlement of party funds.

A League statement Thursday said Rosy Mauro, vice president of the Italian Senate, had repeatedly rebuffed pleas to resign his parliamentary post, including from party founder Umberto Bossi. The League's leadership then ordered her expulsion from the party. Mauro has insisted she will clear her name.

Bossi himself quit last week as secretary, the League's top post, after denying using party funds for personal use. His support had kept media mogul Silvio Berlusconi in power in three governments.

The League said a party congress will be held in Milan June 30-July 1. It is expected to elect Bossi's successor.

Bossi, 70, had apparently been grooming his son Renzo for a top leadership post eventually, but the young man resigned from a regional councilman's post after being implicated in the scandal. Renzo Bossi has denied wrongdoing amid reports he is being investigated for using tens of thousands of euros in party funds for personal use.

Italian prosecutors are not allowed to comment publicly on investigations in progress.