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Rome's populist mayor faces jail over hiring practices

© AFP | Rome mayor, Virginia Raggi, who become the city's first female mayor in 2016, is a member of the anti-establisment Five Star Movement

ROME (AFP) - 

Rome's public prosecutor on Friday requested a ten-month jail term for the city's populist mayor Virginia Raggi over accusations of corrupt hiring practices.

Raggi, who became the city's first female mayor in 2016 and who belongs to the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, is accused of making false statements regarding the appointment of Renato Marra as Rome's tourism chief.

Marra's brother Raffaele Marra is a former head of Rome personnel once seen as Raggi's right-hand man but who is now also facing separate corruption allegations which predate Raggi's arrival at city hall.

Investigators say they have evidence that Raffaele Marra was behind his sibling's appointment.

Raffaele Marra has already spent several months in jail and faces a four-and-a-half year prison term.

Raggi's defence counsel will plead her case Saturday and a verdict is expected the same day.

In Italy, sentences of under two years are usually suspended.

However, Raggi's party rulebook stipulates any member must resign from their position in the movement even in the case of a shorter jail term, including one from a first offence.

© 2018 AFP