Italian finance minister Giulio Tremonti has found himself in hot water after it was disclosed that his former adviser - facing a possible jail term for corruption - had been paying his rent.

Naples prosecutors revealed late yesterday that Marco Milanese had been paying €8,500 a month for an apartment in Rome that was used by Tremonti.

When the news broke, Tremonti - who lives in Pavia in northern Italy but is often in the capital for government duties - admitted that he had 'accepted Milanese's offer' to stay in the apartment three nights a week.

He assured critics that he had given up the apartment yesterday evening.

Tremonti's right-hand man, Milanese resigned from the ministry at the end of June after being implicated in an alleged corruption ring known as 'P4'.

The ring involved high-profile figures from the world of politics and economy.

Naples prosecutors called for Milanese - a member of Prime Minister Silvio Berlsconi's People of Freedom party (PDL) - to be imprisoned for his involvement in alleged corruption uncovered during an inquiry.

In light of his political status, parliament will have to rule on their request.

According to the magistrates, Tremonti's former adviser had received large sums of money - at least €450,000 in cash - as well as jewels, luxury cars and other gifts from a businessman who was being hounded by the law.

Milanese had accepted the gifts in exchange for passing on information about how the inquiry into the businessman was proceeding - because as a former financial police officer, he had access to the case files.

He had also allegedly received kickbacks from two people in exchange for jobs within companies run by the finance ministry.

The head of the PDL members of parliament, Fabrizio Cicchitto, came to Tremonti's defence today, blaming troublemakers within the government.

Tremonti has recently pushed through severe austerity cuts in an attempt to regulate Italy's huge debt, in a move that caused friction been the finance minister and Berlusconi as well as several other members of parliament.