In an appeal court re-trial in which close Berlusconi associate Italian senator Marcello Dell’Utri was sentenced to 7 years in prison for criminal association, judges concluded that Silvio Berlusconi had been paying protection money to the Sicilian mafia.
The report which detailed the grounds on which Dell’Utri had been found guilty also concluded that Berlusconi actively sought the protection of the Sicilian mafia forming what amounted to a pact, according to an article on the website of Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano. The mafia-Berlusconi agreement was found to have lasted from 1974 to 1992.
In return for substantial sums of money, the court concluded that Berlusconi received protection for himself and his family, protection which included the presence of the late convicted mafia criminal Vittorio Mangano who was supposedly employed at Berlusconi’s villa in Milan as a stable keeper.
At no time, noted judges, did Silvio Berlusconi seek the assistance of the authorities. Instead, Italy’s then future prime minister preferred to avail himself of “mafia security services”.
Dell’Utri, an Italian senator remember, quite openly and actively colluded with the Sicilian mafia according to the court’s findings.
Berlusconi’s cash injections served to strengthen mafia power, noted the court.
Also noted by the court was the strong likelihood that Berlusconi’s Milan 2 property development was a massive mafia money laundering operation. Many in Italy have wondered just how Berlusconi financed the development and rumours that mafia money was involved have been rife on Italy for decades.
One wonders whether without Berlusconi’s protection payments the mafia would have been powerful enough to order the assassinations of anti-mafia investigators Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. Just a thought.
Whether Silvio Berlusconi will be hauled in for questioning is not yet known.