ROME  - Former Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, who was head of state during the “Bribesville” corruption affair which overturned the old political order during the 1990s, has died, officials said on Sunday. He was 93. Scalfaro was appointed president in 1992 as the scandal was sweeping aside a party system which had run Italy since World War Two. Both Scalfaro’s own conservative Christian Democrat party and the centre-left Socialists were revealed to have been deeply corrupted by a web of bribery and illegal funding which destroyed Italians’ confidence in govt.

With preparations well under way for Italy to join the embryonic single European currency, Scalfaro had to defend the basic institutions of the Italian state at a time of corrosive mistrust of the political system.

“As President of the Republic, he faced some of the most difficult periods of our history firmly and steadfastly,” the current president, Giorgio Napolitano, said in a statement.