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Napolitano wiretaps destroyed

Mafia investigators 'went too far' in recording president

22 April, 14:52
Napolitano wiretaps destroyed (ANSA) - Palermo, April 22 - A judge in Palermo on Monday destroyed wiretaps of President Giorgio Napolitano, effectively ending a judicial clash that pitted the sanctity of the presidency against the duties of Mafia investigators. Italy's Constitutional Court ruled in December that Palermo prosecutors investigating alleged negotiations between the Mafia and the State must destroy recordings of four conversations Napolitano had with Nicola Mancino, a former interior minister and Senate Speaker, between November 2011 and May 2012.

Napolitano argued that the Italian Constitution forbids prosecutors from investigating the head of state unless he is suspected of high treason or attacking the Constitution itself. The wiretaps should have have been destroyed immediately, he said.

In its reasoning on the verdict issued Monday, the Constitutional Court agreed, calling the recordings "a significant wound to the Constitution". Napolitano also argued that the powers of the Italian president would be diminished for future holders of the office if he accepted the conduct of the prosecutors.

Mancino was charged along with 11 other people in July in relation to alleged negotiations to stop a series of Cosa Nostra bomb attacks in the early 1990s that claimed the lives of anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992, among other people.

Mancino is accused of perjury for saying he did not know about the negotiations.

He denies this.

On Monday Palermo Judge Riccardo Ricciardi destroyed the wiretaps inside the Ucciardone Prison, where they had been kept on a server.