Andreotti fights back: Supergrass links Italy's veteran statesman to Mafia killings

CHILLING new allegations were made against the former prime minister Giulio Andreotti yesterday as he fought to retain his parliamentary immunity from prosecution for associating with the Mafia.

Alleged testimony by Tommaso Buscetta, the first and one of the most authoritative of the Mafia pentiti, or turncoats, linked Mr Andreotti with the murders of the anti-Mafia carabinieri general, Alberto dalla Chiesa, and the journalist Mino Pecorelli, who both were said to know secrets about the kidnapping and murder of the former prime minister Aldo Moro.

A more recent pentito, Francesco Marino Mannoia, alleged that Mr Andreotti had met top leaders of the Mafia three times, once in Rome and twice in Sicily. He declared that he was present each time, although he did not take part in the discussions. Both pentiti gave the testimony to Italian magistrates in America, where they are now living.

The alleged evidence, 40 pages of it, was added to existing material sent by the Palermo magistrates to the Senate immunity commission only shortly before it met to debate whether to recommend lifting Mr Andreotti's immunity to allow further investigations and, if warranted, prosecution. Mr Andreotti, 74, who was prime minister seven times and a powerful leader of the Christian Democrat party for nearly half a century, is a life senator.

Mr Andreotti arrived in a bullet-proof car an hour after the session began. His defence was a 66-page memorandum drawn up by his lawyer, Odoardo Ascari, with another 10 pages containing the anti-Mafia laws passed by his governments. Buscetta, like other pentiti after him, had long refused to talk about the links between the Mafia and politics, saying that Italy was not ready to know the truth. Now, with the old political class which Mr Andreotti personified collapsing under corruption and other scandals, he and others have decided to talk. Their evidence is slowly helping to piece together some of the mysteries and crimes which have gripped Italy over recent decades.

Pecorelli was a journalist with highly dubious connections that included the conspiratorial P2 masonic lodge, of which he was a member, and the secret services, and who published highly explosive revelations in a review called Osservatore Politico. On 20 March 1979 he was shot dead in his car in a Rome street.

Buscetta told the magistrates that two top Mafia bosses had told him Pecorelli was murdered by the Mafia: 'It seems that Pecorelli was investigating political matters connected with the Moro kidnapping.

'Giulio Andreotti was worried that those secrets concerning the Moro kidnapping might come out - secrets General dalla Chiesa knew too. Pecorelli and dalla Chiesa are 'intertwined'.'

Dalla Chiesa had become a national hero by bringing the Red Brigades terrorists to justice. His appointment to Palermo, ostensibly to enable him to do the same with the Mafia, was simply a means of 'getting rid of him' Buscetta said.

Marino Mannoia told the magistrates about alleged summits between Mr Andreotti and Mafia leaders. At one, Gaetano Badalamenti, now in jail in the United States, visited him in Rome and during the meeting allegedly thanked Mr Andreotti for 'fixing' a maxi-trial of Mafia bosses.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test