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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid