domenica 18 maggio 2014

Extradition 'unopposed' Dell'Utri to be 'sent back to Italy'

Lebanese justice official says former Senator returns next week

(ANSA) - Rome, May 16 - Lebanon's justice ministry isn't opposed to extraditing former Italian Senator Marcello Dell'Utri, who is expected to return to Italy next week to face a seven-year jail term for Mafia association, ANSA sources said Friday. The long-time associate of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi is accused of fleeing Italian justice before the supreme court made his seven-year sentence definitive.

The Lebanese prime minister and president must sign the extradition decree before it is finalized, official said. But Dell'Utri "will be in Italy next week," Lebanese justice ministry spokesman Ahmad al Ayubi told ANSA.

Dell'Utri, who denies wrongdoing, claims he was in the Lebanese capital for health treatment, and shortly after his arrest on an Interpol warrant he was hospitalized under police guard. Dell'Utri's original conviction came when a Palermo court found that he sealed "a pact of protection" with Cosa Nostra for Berlusconi at a meeting in May 1974 - a meeting that the court said "formed the genesis of the relationship that linked the businessman (Berlusconi) and the Mafia with Dell'Utri's mediation".

Berlusconi employed a Mafia boss and killer recommended by Dell'Utri, the late Vittorio Mangano, as an alleged stable manager in the mid 1970s - but allegedly to protect his children from kidnappings that were then rampant in Italy. Dell'Utri is also the former head of the media magnate's advertising arm and is credited with creating the three-time premier's centre-right party, Forza Italia, in 1993, six months before it swept to victory in general elections. 

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