The parliamentary commission investigating Italy's $2 million Lockheed scandal asked Parliament yesterday to send two former defense ministers to be tried on charges of corruption. The commission absolved former Christian Democratic Premier Mariano Rumor.
It was the first time since World War I that trial had been recommended for former government members, who are normally protected by parliamentary immunity reported Washington Post special correspondent Sari Gilbert.
The 20-man commission voted 11 to 9 to recommend trial for former Christian Democratic Defense Minister Luigi Gui, and 18 to 2 in favor of trial for Gui's successor, Social Democrat Mario Tanassi. The commission's Christian Democratic president used his tie-breaking extra vote to absolve Rumor by a count of 11 to 10.
The commission also voted to recommend trial for 11 other persons including former Ali Force Chief of Staff Duilio Fanali, Tanassi's private secretary, two lawyer brothers who worked as mediators for Lockheed, and a former state industrialist.
The decision came almost a year after the first breaks in the Lockheed scandal indicated that the former defense ministers may have received bribes of at least $100,000 in connection with the purchase from Lockheed of 14 Hercules C-130 transport planes, in 1970 and 1971.
The commission's 10 leftist members - seven Communists, two Socialists and one independent - voted as a bloc in favor of trial for all three of the ministers charged.
The commission's recommendation regarding Rumor could be overturned before the final vote by a joint session of Parliament if signatures from more than half of Italy's 945 senators and deputies can be collected within the next five days.