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Mafia v Berlusconi

In court today ex-mafia hit man Gaspare Spatuzza is giving evidence in a case in which a man close to Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, Senator Marcello Dell’Utri, is fighting accusations of collusion with the mafia.

The case has caught the attention of all Italy.  Berlusconi opponent, and ex-magistrate turned politician, Antonion Di Pietro is sending a blow by blow account of trial events via Twitter.

Long time political associate of Berlusconi, Marcello Dell’Utri has already been convicted of ‘mafia association’ and regardless of his appeal, Italians do think he has mafia connections.

Seeing as Berlusconi and Marcello Dell’Utri are so close, it is assumed that Berlusconi is also up to his neck in mafia tainted mud.  The fact that Berlusconi employed someone with mafia connections serves to redouble suspicions.

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In an article yesterday, the Economist observed that in view of the blows the Berlusconi government has dealt to the mafia – something which Berlusconi himself wastes no time in pointing out, maybe the mafia is out to get Berlusconi.

Spatuzza has claimed, albeit via hearsay, that Berlusconi had made a deal with another mafia member with regard to the harsh prison regime convicted mafia members face. The alleged Berlusconi  and mafia agreement involved watering down the prison regime to make it more palatable for mafia criminals.

Some would argue that the harsh regime or 41 Bis, as it is often referred to in Italy, has acted as something of a deterrent, and may even have convinced a few mafia to turn their backs on their organisation.

The 41 Bis, regime remains harsh, and despite having held power for some time, Berlusconi does not appear to have worked to soften it a little – much to the chargrin of the mafia, or so some believe.

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