Andreotti file reaches Senate

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A CRATE of documents and a 246-page missive linking the former prime minister, Giulio Andreotti, to the Mafia and its crimes will lie before the Senate immunity commission today as it deliberates whether to allow the Palermo magistrates to press on with their investigations.

The magistrates' long request accuses Mr Andreotti of possible 'association to commit crimes and Mafia-type association'. Full details are not yet known, but it alledgedly contains references to the case of Aldo Moro, the former prime minister who was kidnapped and murdered; Michele Sindona, the Mafia's and Vatican's banker who underwent a fake kidnapping by the Mafia and was later poisoned; Licio Gelli, leader of the Masonic P2 conspiracy; Roberto Calvi, the crooked Vatican banker found dead under Black friars Bridge; the secret services; and the favourable sentences on mafiosi in the high courts.

The decision will take some time. The commission's president, Giuseppe Pellicano, said it will take two days to study the documents. He would ask the commission to allow the case to be dealt with ahead of all the others waiting in the pipeline. This latest and biggest shock in Italy's political scandals sent the lira sliding to a low of 993 against the German mark. The Bank of Italy intervened and it settled at a still low 991.

Today, President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro will meet the speakers of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, Giovanni Spadolini and Giorgio Napoletano respectively, to discuss the implications of the Andreotti affair. A sign of the plight of political parties, now that they cannot take kickbacks, came yesterday when the secretary of the tiny Social Democrat Party, Carlo Vizzini, resigned, saying the party had no money to pay its staff, rents or even phone bills.