Government told divided Siri position may encourage Mafia

Nino Di Matteo warned the government against their divided position. Photo credit:

ROME - Italy’s coalition government has been warned by an anti-Mafia magistrate that its divided position on the corruption allegations against transport secretary Armando Siri is likely to only encourage greater Mafia influence in Italian politics.

 In an interview with la Repubblica on Tuesday Nino Di Matteo, a high-ranking attorney at the National Anti-Mafia Directorate, said: “The mafia has in the last few days taken note of the different approaches of the two government parties, the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the League.

 “The former demand the resignation of [Siri] who is under investigation for corruption in a wide-reaching case that reaches Trapani, while the latter defend him.”

 Di Matteo believes that this split position could well be viewed by the Mafia as a sign of weakness to be easily exploited in the future.

 The League’s decision to defend their minister leaves the door open for future politicians to work alongside the Mafia without fearing party condemnation.

 “One cannot wait for the decisions of the judiciary; one has to be able to act first and sever any links. As it is… all political forces have remained silent on the matter of the Mafia and its relations to power.”

 Di Matteo was critical of this development, and went on to state that “the fight against the close relationship of the Mafia and corruption should be at the top of any agenda’s institution, government included.”

 Armando Siri was last week placed under investigation for alleged corruption after money intended to help pass amendments on wind power legislation went missing.

 Magistrates believe the money may have instead been given to a contractor with links to Matteo Messina Denaro.

 Deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio and the M5S called on Siri to resign with immediate effect as a way to “protect the government and the integrity of its institutions.”

 Matteo Salvini and the League, on the other hand, supported of their minister who categorically denies all allegations.