May 24, 2009 in Nation/World

In brief: Iraqi trade minister expected to resign


Iraq’s trade director, who made history last week as the first government minister ever forced to answer corruption charges before a nationwide television audience, is expected to resign before a no-confidence vote in the Iraqi parliament on Tuesday, a top party official said Saturday.

“The minister of trade presented his resignation letter” before he was grilled by the parliament’s Integrity Committee last weekend, Dr. Ali al Adeeb, a high-ranking member of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s ruling Dawa party, told McClatchy. “I expect that he will be deposed before the no-confidence vote.”

The trade minister, Falah al-Sudany, also a Dawa party member, could not be reached for comment Saturday.

All of Baghdad seemed to watch last weekend when al-Sudany appeared on state TV to answer questions about his two brothers allegedly skimming millions from a national food program.

Some Iraqis saw the public interrogation as a hopeful sign for their country’s nascent democracy, a rare case of the powerful being held accountable to voters. Others considered it parliamentary propaganda, convinced that politicians had found a scapegoat for the sake of appearance.


Gambino deported for trial in Italy

Italian authorities took into custody on Saturday a top boss from the Gambino Mafia clan who was deported from the United States after spending more than two decades in jail for drug trafficking.

The 67-year-old Rosario Gambino arrived at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport on a flight from Miami. Wearing a gray jumpsuit and looking frail, he sat in a wheelchair as he was escorted out by police officers.

Gambino, an Italian-born New Jersey resident, was considered a top mobster in the New York-based crime family led by his late cousin Carlo Gambino. In 1984 he was convicted in a multimillion-dollar conspiracy to sell heroin in southern New Jersey.

Gambino has been wanted in Italy since 1980 on separate drug and Mafia-connected charges, and he is expected to face trial.

From wire reports

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