Milan's police chief arrested for murder

THE NEW police chief of Milan, Francesco Forleo, has been arrested in connection with the murder of an unarmed smuggler off the coast of Brindisi.

Mr Forleo is accused of firing the shot that killed Vito Ferrarese, a small-time bandit, during a police sea chase in July 1995. He is also accused of having approved a police cover-up and of later putting pressure on his colleagues not to incriminate him.

When told of his imminent arrest, Mr Forleo, 57, tendered his resignation before being transferred to a jail in Rome.

The arrest of one of the country's most prominent police officers has been greeted with incredulity among the police and by politicians who knew him during his brief spell as a parliamentary deputy. It follows a continuing investigation into the activities of the special "capture" squad in Brindisi during the early Eighties.

Five members of the squad, including several senior officers, were arrested in March. They were accused of staging police raids with the complicity of the local Mafia group, the Sacra Corona Unita, to obtain promotions and of favouring some clans. The inquiries have revealed a "wild west" regime in which any means appears to have been justified in the battle against the local Mafia andcriminal gangs trafficking in arms, drugs, cigarettes and illegal immigrants.

After many interrogations, some of the arrested policemen began to confess and point the finger at fellow officers.

The magistrates subsequently reopened the file on the shooting of Ferrarese, whichhad been quickly closed despite a report by the coroner that the bullet that killed him did not correspond to the pistol listed in the official police report.

The events of the night of 13 July 1995, during which Ferrarese lost his life, have been pieced together by some of the "capture" squad who were on board a helicopter.

In a statement to magistrates, leaked to La Repubblica newspaper, Giorgio Oliva, head of the squad, recounted that the helicopter had chased a known smugglers' craft, and that Mr Forleo and others had fired shots and thrown hand grenades to force it to halt.

Mr Oliva said that when they landed and found the boat with Ferrarese dead inside, they procured a machinegun and placed it on board, to back up the police line that they were being fired at by the bandits. He added that when the coroner ascertained that the fatal bullet was not fired from the gun listed in the police report, he was asked to take the blame, saying he had fired Mr Forleo's pistol.

According to magistrates in the southern Adriatic port of Lecce, Mr Forleo had until just a few days ago tried to convince fellow police officers at the time not to incriminate him.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Factory Operatives

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003