Prosecutors accuse ex-politicians of mafia dealings

Nicola Mancino. Image: Il Fatto Quotidiano.

ROME – Prosecutors in Palermo have requested that former interior minister, Nicola Mancino, be handed a six-year prison sentence for false testimony, and former Senator and close advisor to Silvio Berlusconi, Marcello Dell’Utri, be given 12 years, in the landmark case investigating alleged contact between Cosa Nostra and state officials in the early 1990s.

 The accusations are part of a wider criminal investigation into alleged negotiations between the mafia and the state, in particular those relating to the ending of a bombing campaign that Cosa Nostra had orchestrated throughout Italy in the period. Those accused are politicians, Mafiosi and Carabinieri.  

 The case has proven hugely complex with the “Negotiation” investigation beginning nearly ten years ago and court hearings underway for 1914 days so far. It took prosecutors eight days alone to present the indictment to the court.   

 Mancino was landed in trouble by the former justice minister, Claudio Martelli, who told the court in Palermo that he had complained to Mancino about the actions of Carabinieri. The former interior minister has always denied discussing the matter with Martelli.

 Dell’Utri is considered by prosecutors to be “the engine, the transmission belt of the mafia message” of blackmail towards the government in a second round of alleged negotiations in 1993.

 “The message of intimidation was transmitted by Dell’Utri and delivered to Berlusconi”, and prosecutors added, Dell’Utri had succeded in “convincing Berlusconi to take legislative action in 1994 that could have favoured the organisation.”

 A sentence in the case could be announced as early as April.