VENICE, Italy, June 13 (UPI) -- Giorgio Orsoni, mayor of Venice, Italy, resigned Friday over a corruption scandal, following pressure from the political party that backed him.
Orsoni accepted a four-month suspended jail sentence Thursday. He was one of 35 people arrested earlier this month in a probe of a suspected graft scheme involving payment for the MOSE flood-barrier plan, which is being constructed in Venice's harbor to keep the city from flooding.
Prosecutors are investigating claims 25 million euros ($33.8 million) were diverted from the 5.5-billion euro ($7.44 billion) project -- in which retractable dikes are installed in the harbor -- to political campaigns. It is scheduled to be in use by 2016.
After Orsoni reached a deal with prosecutors, he said he would not step down as mayor, adding, "I have made many enemies and maybe this is the price I'm paying. I couldn't know that an illegal system was used (for the 2010 election campaign)." However, he resigned the following day under pressure from his Democratic Party.