Italian police nab non
"The (suspects) gave themselves salaries of 1-5,000 euros," added Lasperanza. "Certainly there was a river of money that was not being used to care for migrants."
By Stefania Fumo
"We're talking about... 4 to 5 million euros (5 to 6 million U.S. dollars) that were granted by the state in exchange for non-existent activities," Prosecutor Carlo Lasperanza told reporters.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, whose far-right League party has grown exponentially in national and local elections this year, often blasts what he calls the "migration business", and has made a point of turning away ships with rescued asylum seekers run by humanitarian non-governmental organizations.
Televised coverage showed several men and at least one woman being taken into custody in handcuffs, along with police footage of filthy living quarters overflowing with trash bags.
"They misappropriated public funds in diversified ways," said Police Commissioner Carmine Belfiore, who oversees the force in the town of Latina south of Rome.
The suspects gave themselves hefty salaries and used public money to pay for a baptism banquet, while threatening the asylum seekers to keep them from protesting about their living conditions, officials told reporters at a televised news conference.
ROME, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Six non-profit organization managers have been arrested for scamming the state out of millions of euros while mistreating asylum seekers under their care, officials said Tuesday.
"They even diverted public funds to pay for a private banquet to celebrate a baby's baptism," Belfiore added.
The rise of rightwing, anti-immigrant forces in Italy's last general election has been stoked by widespread public perception that letting migrants into Italy too often results in abuse of the public trust.
"They ran migrant reception centers (south of Rome), six managers arrested for making false statements, misappropriation, public service provision fraud, mistreatment of migrants," state police tweeted.
"Site inspections showed overcrowding and substandard hygiene," the police tweet said.