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Ex-Italian PM Renzi's dad suspected of influence peddling

The father of former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has been summoned to appear before prosecutors next week, accused of influence peddling. Renzi junior meanwhile is planning to lauch a political comeback.

Tiziano Renzi has become part of a wider probe into rigged tendering by Consip, the Italian administration's central purchasing office.

"This morning I received a notice to appear at the Rome prosecutors' office in regard to 'influence trafficking'," Renzi senior was quoted as saying by the "Il Sole 24 Ore" daily business newspaper.

He claimed he was unaware of the official charges or any allegations of misconduct until Thursday morning when he received the notice to appear. "My conduct has been absolutely transparent, as the judges - to whom I pay all respect - can attest," Renzi was quoted as saying in "La Reppublica."

Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies Luigi Di Maio, wrote on Twitter: "Renzi's father and his right arm investigated in Consip probe. Was Renzi aware of the flow of information? #DidRenziknow?"

Renzi senior's lawyer Federico Bagattini described the allegations as "totally incomprehensible."

"The judicial document only mentioned the number of the law allegedly violated," he said. "We will be getting in touch with the prosecutor to find out what the allegations actually are," Bagattini added.

The investigation concerns the 2013 failure of Chil Post Srl, a newspaper distribution and advertising company based in Genoa, of which Renzi senior was the chief executive, the newspaper "Il Secolo XIX" reported. The case was opened in September 2014 but the public prosecutor later asked that it be dismissed.

Renzi comeback?

Tiziano's son Matteo Renzi on Monday launched a comeback bid with a move to reassert his authority over his fractious Democratic Party (PD) before an election due in the next year.

Renzi, who quit as premier after losing a December referendum on constitutional reforms but who still leads the PD, secured the backing of the party's executive for an assembly that will set a date for the leadership vote.

Renzi junior called on rivals on Wednesday not to quit the ruling PD, after speculation mounted that a group of senior figures were planning to break away.

jbh/kl (AFP, Reuters)

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