Italian broadcaster Mediaset has moved to distance itself from an emerging scandal surrounding Emilio Fede, the former head of the broadcaster’s news service TG4.
According to La Stampa newspaper, Fede is being investigated for allegedly being in possession of compromising photos – which may have been a photomontage – of Mediaset’s head of information, Mauro Crippa, in the company of transsexuals, which he may have used to attempt to blackmail his former employers.
The discovery of the photos emerged when police searched the home of Fede’s personal trainer, a former convict called Gaetano Ferri.
That search was carried out in relation to audio files Ferri allegedly possessed containing material about disgraced former prime minister and Mediaset chairman Silvio Berlusconi, former Italian senator, Berlusconi adviser and convicted Mafia associate Marcello Dell’Utri and Karima El Mahrough, known as ‘Ruby the Heartbreaker’.
Prosecutors have now reportedly instructed the police to acquire copies of documents related to Fede’s dismissal by Mediaset as part of their investigation.
Mediaset said that Fede’s dismissal in 2010 and the subsequent agreement of a severance payment was determined in line with the company’s practice and in accordance with Italy’s labour laws.
Acknowledging that Fede is being investigated for blackmail, it said that this had clearly not prevented his dismissal.
The company said it would look to take further action, possibly including civil action against the perpetrators of the offence, once it had access to the investigation’s documents.