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Berlusconi aide was 'Mafia's ambassador' in party - Ingroia

Dell'Utri facing retrial on charges of helping Cosa Nostra

11 January, 18:55
Berlusconi aide was 'Mafia's ambassador' in party - Ingroia (ANSA) - Rome, January 11 - Centre-right Senator and former Silvio Berlusconi aide Marcello Dell'Utri was the Mafia's ambassador in the ex-premier's party, Antonio Ingroia, the former Palermo anti-mafia prosecutor, said Friday.

Dell'Utri is currently facing a retrial in Palermo on the orders of the supreme Court of Cassation for allegedly helping the Mafia on grounds that his legal rights were not respected in an earlier appeal.

Italy's highest court also said there was evidence that the suspect had acted as an intermediary with the Mafia for Berlusconi, handing on ''substantial sums'' of money - thought to total around 40 million euros over 10 years - for protection.

Ingroia, the leader of the newly formed Civil Revolution political party, said Dell'Utri helped Berlusconi form his former party, Forza Italia, "on the basis of an agreement" with the Sicilian Mafia.

''Dell'Utri worked with input from Cosa Nostra, he was the ambassador of Cosa Nostra,'' Ingroia told La7 television.

Dell'Utri is also one of 11 people implicated in a case concerning 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.

He denies any wrongdoing.