News / Middle East

Beirut Police Detain Berlusconi Ally Ahead of Mafia Verdict

FILE - Marcello Dell'Utri attends a debate at the Senate in Rome, Sept. 30, 2010.FILE - Marcello Dell'Utri attends a debate at the Senate in Rome, Sept. 30, 2010.
x
FILE - Marcello Dell'Utri attends a debate at the Senate in Rome, Sept. 30, 2010.
FILE - Marcello Dell'Utri attends a debate at the Senate in Rome, Sept. 30, 2010.
Reuters
Beirut police on Saturday picked up a longtime political ally and friend of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi after he was declared a fugitive earlier this week.
 
A Palermo court said on Friday that former senator Marcello Dell'Utri, who co-founded Berlusconi's Forza Italia party in 1994, was considered a fugitive ahead of a final verdict in a trial for mafia collusion, due on Tuesday.
 
“He was captured and is now in a Lebanese police office,” Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, a former Berlusconi ally who broke with the center-right leader last year, said on the sidelines of a political rally in Rome.
 
The 5-Star Movement and another opposition party had called for Alfano's resignation after police lost track of Dell'Utri.
 
“His capture was obviously connected to an extradition procedure that the Italian government, through the justice ministry, will activate immediately,” Alfano added.
 
An arrest warrant dated April 8 obtained by Reuters said Dell'Utri's cell phone had been detected in Beirut on April 3, and that he had departed from Italy in mid-March.
 
But Dell'Utri, in a statement issued through his lawyer, Giuseppe Di Peri, responded on Friday that he had left the country for medical tests and some rest after undergoing an angioplasty a few weeks ago. He did not say where he was.
 
On Saturday, Di Peri said he had not spoken with his client since he was taken into custody, but that he expected Italy would request extradition and said that Dell'Utri would likely have to hire a Lebanese lawyer to assist him.
 
A year ago, a Palermo appeals court convicted the 72-year-old Dell'Utri of acting as a go-between for the Sicilian Mafia and the Milan business elite, including Berlusconi's companies, until 1992 and sentenced him to seven years in prison.
 
Dell'Utri, who denies any wrongdoing, appealed to the country's highest court.
 
In accordance with Italian law, the Sicilian-born Dell'Utri was free as he awaited the final ruling. If it is upheld, he would have faced immediate arrest.
 
In the statement issued on Friday, Dell'Utri said he was confident that the high court would rule in his favor, adding that it was not his intention to hide from the verdict.
 
Dell'Utri and four-time prime minister Berlusconi, 77, have been friends since they attended university together in Milan in the early 1960s. Berlusconi is not a defendant in the trial.
 
Dell'Utri ran the advertising company in Berlusconi's media empire from 1984 to 1995, and became a key adviser when Berlusconi entered politics two decades ago, helping him to establish his own political party from scratch.
 
Both Berlusconi and Dell'Utri have been dogged by legal troubles for most of their political careers, and both accuse magistrates of persecuting them for political reasons.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs