Giorgio Orsoni, the Mayor of Venice, was arrested in early June along with thirty-four others on charges of corruption related to the building of flood barriers and other preservation projects for the city. Mayor since 2010, Orsoni has been charged with embezzlement, money laundering, and contract fixing in connection with the Mose construction project – a €7 billion design for flood barriers to protect the city from flooding. The arrests resulted from a three-year investigation that also snared the head of the consortium responsible for the ambitious but long-delayed barrier system. Giovanni Mazzacurati, the former head of Consorzio Venezia Nuova, the association of Italian industries charged with building the flood barrier, was arrested in July 2013 but has since been released and given a controversial €7 million severance package. Authorities say €20 million was diverted abroad to bribe politicians.

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