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Mobster informant points to Berlusconi, Dell'Utri

'Boss credited pair with putting Italy in our hands'

13 March, 19:31
Mobster informant points to Berlusconi, Dell'Utri (ANSA) - Rome, March 13 - A mobster-turned-informant told prosecutors in a deposition Thursday that three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi and former Senator Marcello Dell'Utri were credited with "putting the country in the hands" of the Mafia by a notorious Sicilian boss. From a jail in Rome, Gaspare Spatuzza recalled a conversation in 1994 with Cosa Nostra boss Giuseppe Graviano.

"He said, 'I told you that things would turn out all right'. Then he said the name Berlusconi, and added that our paesano Dell'Ultri was also involved, and thanks to them we had the country in our hands".

Dell'Utri is appealing to the supreme Court of Cassation a seven-year sentence imposed in March by a Palermo court that convicted him of Mafia association.

The court found that Dell'Utri sealed "a pact of protection" with Cosa Nostra for Berlusconi at a meeting in May 1974 - a meeting that the court said "formed the genesis of the relationship that linked the businessman (Berlusconi) and the Mafia with Dell'Utri's mediation".

Dell'Utri is the former head of the media magnate's advertising arm who is credited with creating the three-time premier's center-right party, Forza Italia, in 1993, six months before it swept to victory in general elections.

Dell'Utri's lawyers have been quick to say that Spatuzza is not a credible witness given his Mafia background. The deposition Thursday was part of an ongoing Palermo trial into the alleged secret negotiations between the State and the Mafia.