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Indictments requested for 11 in State-Mafia talks case

Prosecutor cites ex-ministers, ex-police, ex-Mob bosses

10 January, 18:56
Indictments requested for 11 in State-Mafia talks case (ANSA) - Palermo, January 10 - A prosecutor in Palermo requested on Thursday that charges be brought against 11 defendants in a probe into alleged negotiations between the Mafia and the Italian State in the early 1990s, including notorious Mafia bosses, ex-anti-Mafia police officers and current members of parliament. It has been suggested that State officials entered negotiations with Cosa Nostra in a bid to stop attacks after a long campaign of violence that culminated in two bombings in 1992 which killed anti-Mob prosecutor Giovanni Falcone, his wife, fellow prosecutor Paolo Borsellino, and several bodyguards. In a preliminary Palermo court hearing on Thursday morning, prosecutor Nino Di Matteo asked a judge to bring charges against nine defendants for violence and threats against the State.

Di Matteo cited Mafia bosses Leoluca Bagarella, Toto' Riina, Giovanni Brusca and Nino Cina'. Riina is currently serving multiple life-sentences after leading the Corleonesi faction to the top of the Sicilian Mafia, waging a ruthless campaign of violence against rival mobsters and the Italian State in the 1980s and early 1990s. In the wake of the 1992 bombings, Riina is said to have made a list of demands for the Italian State, the so-called "papello".

On Wednesday, the chief of Italy's anti-mafia parliamentary commission, Beppe Pisanu, reported that the State did not heed the Mafia demands, however a "partial, tacit understanding" rather than "negotiations" did take place between State law enforcement and the Sicilian Cosa Nostra Mafia in the early 1990s.

Bagarella, who is believed to have been one of Riina's successors and is also in prison serving a life-sentence for several murders, denies ever having had contact with "politicians of any sort". Senator Marcello Dell'Utri, who has worked closely with Berlusconi since the 1970s and helped found the ex-premier's Forza Italia political party in 1993, was also cited on Thursday in Palermo, as was ex-minister and current parliament member Calogero Mannino. Mannino requested to be given a fast-track trial, which would shorten the penalty by a third if found guilty. Di Matteo also asked to indict three ex-officers in the anti-Mafia police: Antonio Subranni, Mario Mori and Giuseppe De Donno. Di Matteo asked for charges of false testimony for Nicola Mancino, who served as interior minister from 28 June 1992 to 19 April 1994.

The prosecutor requested charges of Mafia association for Massimo Ciancimino, son of former Palermo mayor Vito Ciancimino, the first Italian politician to be convicted of Mafia membership, a year before his death in 2002.

photo: Riina's arrest in January 1993