Sgarbi announces resignation “with immediate effect”.
Italian junior culture minister Vittorio Sgarbi on Friday announced his resignation amid an investigation into his alleged laundering of a stolen painting and accusations that he accepted lucrative fees for appearing at events.
Sgarbi, a prominent art critic known for his outspoken views, said his resignation as culture undersecretary in the Italian government was “with immediate effect” and that he would inform premier Giorgia Meloni later on Friday.
The 71-year-old politician denies allegations that he exhibited a modified 17th-century artwork which had been stolen from a castle in Italy’s northern Piemonte region in 2013.
In a foul-mouthed outburst aired in recent days, Sgarbi verbally attacked journalists from Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper for questioning him over alleged possession of the stolen painting, threatening to expose his penis on camera and saying he would be “happy” if they died in a car crash.
On Tuesday a court found Sgarbi guilty of defaming former Rome mayor Virginia Raggi, for comparing her in 2018 to the late Mafia-linked Palermo mayor Vito Ciancimino, over a order by the city council – subsequently revoked – to demolish a historic villa in the Coppedè quarter.
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