Ex-Italian minister held over mafia links

Ex-Italian minister held over mafia links

11Rome, May 9 (IANS) Claudio Scajola, a former Italian economic development and interior minister, was detained Thursday on charges of helping a fugitive convicted for mafia links, prosecutors said.

Scajola, 66, a member of three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right Forza Italia (FI) party, was arrested at a Rome hotel where he was staying in.

“From the investigations, it repeatedly emerged that Scajola was in close relations with Amedeo Matacena and his wife for the purpose of favouring him in fleeing Italian justice,” Xinhua quoted Public Prosecutor Federico Cafiero De Raho telling a press conference in Reggio Calabria city.

“In their phone conversations, they were talking about where Matacena — a former MP who was convicted for mafia links — could escape,” he added. Libano was found by investigators to be the probable destination country for the fugitive.

According to Cafiero De Raho, who issued a total of eight arrest warrants on the case, Matacena was part of “a network of complicity” at “high levels”, thanks to which he was able to avoid arrest.

Media reports said he appeared “disconcerted and upset”, and asked why he was being detained.

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