The directors of Italy’s premier opera house, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, are meeting to decide whether to accept controversial funding from Saudi Arabia.

The meeting Monday came amid media reports last weekend that at least some of the 15 million euros ($17 million) had been deposited into an escrow account pending approval of the funding.

The deal, which would include giving a seat on the La Scala board to Saudi Arabia’s culture minister, has been hotly contested due to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. The kingdom is under increased scrutiny internationally since the killing of a Saudi journalist inside its consulate in Istanbul last October.

Milan's mayor Giuseppe Sala, center, arrives for a press conference, in Milan, Italy, Monday, March 11, 2019. ($16.8 million) in new funding. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala, center, arrives for a press conference, in Milan, Italy, Monday, March 11, 2019. ($16.8 million) in new funding. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

The governor of Lombardy has called for the dismissal of the opera house’s general manager, while a few workers have turned out in his defense.

From left, La Scala's general manager Alexander Pereira, La Scala conductor Riccardo Chailly, former Milan's mayor Letizia Moratti and Milan's mayor Giuseppe Sala pose during a press conference, in Milan, Italy, Monday, March 11, 2019. ($16.8 million) in new funding. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
From left, La Scala’s general manager Alexander Pereira, La Scala conductor Riccardo Chailly, former Milan’s mayor Letizia Moratti and Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala pose during a press conference, in Milan, Italy, Monday, March 11, 2019. ($16.8 million) in new funding. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
La Scala theater general manager Alexander Pereira waves as he arrives for a the press conference, in Milan, Italy, Monday, March 11, 2019. ($16.8 million) in new funding. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
La Scala theater general manager Alexander Pereira waves as he arrives for a the press conference, in Milan, Italy, Monday, March 11, 2019. ($16.8 million) in new funding. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
La Scala theater general manager Alexander Pereira attends a press conference, in Milan, Italy, Monday, March 11, 2019. ($16.8 million) in new funding. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
La Scala theater general manager Alexander Pereira attends a press conference, in Milan, Italy, Monday, March 11, 2019. ($16.8 million) in new funding. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

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