The head of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) has resigned "to
protect its integrity, reputation and prestige" after police
searched its offices as part of a corruption and bribery
Enrico Saggese, the body's president since 2009, is under
investigation along with six others accused of various crimes
including corruption, bribery and abuse of office.
Saggese denies all accusations against him, ASI said in a
statement, but he resigned from the agency with immediate
Rome prosecutors Paolo Ielo and Mario Palazzi said contracts
to organise ASI events were given to companies in return for
money or gifts.
Police also seized documents relating to the appointment of
unqualified managers. Italian media reported that ASI had
hired a former tango dancer with no aerospace background as a
Saggese, 64, had been president of ASI since 2009. The agency
helped to build the International Space Station, works
closely with the U.S. space body NASA and leads Italian
research into astrophysics and cosmology.