May 29, 2015 / 7:22 PM / 3 years ago

President of Milan Expo investigated for tax evasion, embezzlement

People visit the France pavilion at the Expo 2015 in Milan, northern Italy, May 6, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

MILAN (Reuters) - The president of the company organising the Milan Expo has come under investigation for tax evasion and embezzlement, Milan prosecutors said on Friday, the latest embarrassment for the showcase of global culture and technology.

Prosecutors said they have completed an investigation into Diana Bracco, the president of Expo 2015 Spa, for issuing invoices for non-existent work connected with healthcare group Bracco, of which she is president and chief executive.

Formal announcement by prosecutors that they have completed an investigation normally precedes an request for indictment.

The allegations refer to the period 2008-2013 and are not connected with the six-month Expo, which Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi hopes can eventually help boost Italy’s image and reinforce a fragile economic recovery.

But the event’s opening on May 1 was marred by rioting on the streets of Milan, and it has already faced a corruption investigation that saw several top officials in the organising body arrested, cost overruns and construction hold-ups.

Bracco’s lawyer, Giuseppe Bana, said his client was not guilty of any criminal activity and had already settled the matter with Italy’s tax agency. He pointed out that prosecutors had not yet asked for her to stand trial.

Reporting by Emilio Parodi, writing by Gavin Jones, editing by Larry King

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