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Italian PM helped mob: Mafia boss

world Updated: Dec 05, 2009 00:39 IST

AFP
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A turncoat Mafia gangster told a court on Friday that his boss in the Italian criminal organisation claimed to have “got everything” with the help of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Gaspare Spatuzza, giving evidence in a long-awaited hearing, said his boss Giuseppe Graviano had in 1994 praised the help of Berlusconi and one of the premier’s allies, Senator Marcello Dell’Utri, in aiding the mob.

The crime chief said he “got everything thanks to the reliability of these people,” before giving the names of the premier and Dell’Utri, Spatuzza told the Turin court.

Graviano said the Sicilian Mafia had “the country in their hands” thanks to the help they received and that “everyone was profiting including those who are in prison,” Spatuzza said.

The revelations came at the appeal hearing of Dell’Utri, who is challenging a nine-year jail sentence handed down for associating with the Mafia.

The senator was at the hearing as the former Mafia man gave evidence from behind a screen to prevent him from being identified. There was a heavy police presence at the court.

Spatuzza had already claimed in legal submissions that Berlusconi and the senator were trusted political contacts for Graviano.

Both Berlusconi and Dell’Utri have vehemently denied ties to the Mafia.

Berlusconi at the weekend denounced press reports of his alleged links to the powerful criminal network as “the most unbelievable, vile attack” he had suffered in recent years.