* Minister accused of getting family friend out of jail
* Opposition 5-Star Movement to present no-confidence motion
* Minister to address parliament on Tuesday
By Steve Scherer
ROME, Nov 2 Italian Justice Minister Anna Maria
Cancellieri faced calls to resign on Saturday over accusations
she used her influence to get the ailing daughter of a former
insurance magnate out of prison.
The loss of an influential minister could further
destabilise Prime Minister Enrico Letta's fragile right-left
coalition, where tensions are already running high ahead of a
vote to expel centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi from
parliament later this month over his conviction for tax fraud.
The opposition 5-Star Movement said on Friday it would
present a no-confidence motion against Cancellieri and the
Democratic Party (PD), the largest bloc supporting the
government, called on her to address parliament on the matter.
Cancellieri stood firm against the resignation demands.
"I made a humanitarian intervention based on the possibility
that an inmate could have died," Cancellieri told RAI state TV
on Saturday after admitting earlier this week she urged prison
authorities to ascertain the health of Giulia Ligresti,
insurance mogul Salvatore Ligesti's oldest daughter.
Cancellieri will testify before the two houses of parliament
on Tuesday, a spokesman said.
The scandal erupted on Thursday when la Repubblica newspaper
printed the transcript of a tapped phone call between the
justice minister and the wife of Ligresti on the day he was
arrested along with his two daughters and ex-company managers.
"You can count on me," Cancellieri said according to a
transcript of the call seen by Reuters. The recording was made
as part of a Turin court investigation into false accounting and
market manipulation at insurer Fondiaria-SAI, which
the Ligresti family controlled until last year.
On Aug. 28, after several calls from the Ligresti family to
the minister in which they voiced their concern for Giulia's
health, she was freed from prison and put under house arrest.
The Turin court said on Friday that the minister's actions
had no influence on her release from prison. Instead, the court
said, she was let go after a medical examination found her
continued imprisonment would have been a "danger" to her health,
and after she agreed to accept a plea bargain.
But her long friendship with the Ligresti family and the
fact Cancellieri's son, Piergiorgio Peluso, earned several
million euros as an executive at Fondiaria-SAI when he worked
there for little over a year in 2011-2012 has fuelled criticism
that the minister acted out of a conflict of interest.
The minister's actions "could appear to be the payment of a
debt after her son's gain," 5-Star leader Beppe Grillo wrote on
his blog on Saturday. "Cancellieri is part of a world made up of
politicians, bankers, institutions, investors who are all
inextricably linked as if in a petrified forest."