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
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
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

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable