Last Friday, Marcello Dell’Utri, was definitively convicted of acting as a link between Milan’s business elite and Italy’s Sicilian mafia.
Ex-Italian senator Dell’Utri is the co-founder of Italy’s Forza Italia political party, a long time associate and reputedly close friend of Italy’s ex-prime minister and other Forza Italia founder, one convict Silvio Berlusconi.
Under normal circumstances after such a conviction, Dell’Utri would have been arrested. Only he wasn’t – because he’s in a hospital in Beirut.
Marcello Dell’Utri secretly skipped Italy before a court hearing scheduled for mid-April. After much kerfuffle, fugitive Dell’Utri was tracked down to Lebanon where he was arrested, fell ill, and is now under police guard in a Beruit hospital. The April hearing never went ahead because Dell’Utri’s two defence lawyers, like their errant client, all of a sudden, fell ill. Consequently, the hearing was postponed to a later date. That date was last Friday.
The hearing of Italy’s Cassation court, the final level in Italy’s three phase justice system, confirmed Dell’Utri’s guilt and his sentence to 7 years in prison. After the court made its decision, Italy advised Lebanon of the court’s findings in the hope Dell’Utri may be returned to Italy to face the music. This, though, has not yet happened and may never occur anyway.
Friends in Lebanon
Firstly, it appears that Dell’Utri has friends in Lebanon, and secondly, the middle east nation does not have the crime of which Berlusconi friend Dell’Utri has been convicted upon its law books. Legal eagles in Lebanon will probably claim that seeing as their client has committed no recognisable crime, he should not be extradited. It sounds as if the relocation of Dell’Utri to Lebanon was no random choice. Indeed, Berlusconi people appear to have links to former president of Lebanon, Amin Gemayel. The plot could not become much thicker. Except it could. There are rumors of an Italy-Beirut mafia connection.
The Political Prisoner
In the meantime from his hospital bed in Beirut, Dell’Utri has claimed he’s a ‘political prisoner’, and if he should happen to be sent back to Italy, he wants the same punishment as his old friend Silvio Berlusconi. Coincidentally, on the very same day that Dell’Utri’s guilt was confirmed, Berlusconi began his half a day a week community service work as punishment for being found guilty of tax fraud.
Just why Dell’Utri seems to think tax fraud and colluding with criminals who have a reputation for murder, intimidation, extortion, and more, are comparable crimes is anyone’s guess.
Silvio Berlusconi stated that he sent his friend Dell’Utri to Lebanon upon the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Recently though, Dell’Utri’s excuse for ending up in Beirut was the quality of its medical care. The explanation for Dell’Utri’s presence in Beirut may change once again.
The Mafia Connection which Ended, but Maybe Not
Incidentally, after discussing the matter for around 20 years, Italy’s courts concluded that Dell’Utri collaborated with the Sicilian mafia for an 18 year period between 1974 to 1992. It is not clear just why Dell’Utri’s mafia connections are supposed to have ceased in 1992. Indeed, there are indications that Dell’Utri’s mafia links never really ended.
Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party won an awful lot of votes via Sicily in Italy’s 2001, 2006, and 2008 elections. If Dell’Utri’s mafia connections ended in 1992, then why did Sicilians keep voting for Berlusconi? This assumes, of course, that the Sicilian mafia piloted voting, and in Italy, this is no wild assumption.
Berlusconi’s Mafia Links?
So far, there’s no word of Berlusconi’s mafia connections, though seeing as his long time friend and associate has now been conclusively convicted of same, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Silvio Berlusconi’s mafia links are being investigated and that he will be facing charges of collusion with the Sicilian mafia in the not too distant future.
By the way, the lid is about to be lifted on another huge can of worms as I write this. This can of worms is also linked to the Lebanon, the mafia and Silvio Berlusconi.
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