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Police have arrested the managing director of Italy's state railway system, Lorenzo Necci, in an investigation into suspected embezzlement of railway funds, media reports quoting judicial sources said yesterday. Mr Necci, 55, has been overseeing a plan to launch a multi-billion dollar high-speed railway which, when it gets off the ground, is expected to be one of Europe's biggest construction projects.

Italian television and news agencies said Mr Necci had been arrested on Sunday on a warrant from magistrates in the north-west coastal town of La Spezia and was being held in jail there. News agencies said Mr Necci was being held on suspicion of offences which included criminal association, corruption, abuse of office, money laundering, false accounting, fraud and embezzlement. Reuter - Rome