Andreotti 'met boss of bosses': Supergrass provides more allegations of former Italian prime minister's connections with Mafia leaders

A MAFIA pentito - supergrass - saw Salvatore Riina, allegedly the Mafia's boss of all bosses, meet Giulio Andreotti, the former prime minister, and kiss him in greeting, according to testimony published by the Senate immunity commission yesterday.

The staggering allegation - flatly denied by Mr Andreotti yesterday - was disclosed less than 24 hours after Italians had voted by an overwhelming 82.7 per cent to throw out their old scandal-ridden political system and start anew.

The claim was made by Baldassare Di Maggio, Riina's former driver, whose evidence led to the capture of the feared boss in January after 24 years in hiding. The Palermo magistrates investigating suspicions against Mr Andreotti sent the testimony to the Senate's immunity commission to back their request for authorisation to proceed against him on suspicion of associating with the Mafia.

'I am absolutely certain that I recognised Giulio Andreotti because I saw him many times on television,' Di Maggio allegedly told the magistrates. 'I interpreted the kiss that Andreotti and Salvatore Riina exchanged as a sign of respect.' Respect is a Mafia term for honour, given by mafiosi to leading members of the organisation or someone who is important to them.

Di Maggio said Riina had told him to dress smartly, and they went to the Palermo flat of Ignazio Salvo, a leading Mafia figure who was later murdered. 'When we arrived the people present who I recognised without a shadow of doubt as Giulio Andreotti and Salvo Lima (Mr Andreotti's chief Sicilian political associate) got up and greeted us. In particular, I shook the hands of the two parliamentarians and kissed Ignazio Salvo . . . Riina on the other hand greeted all three with a kiss (Andreotti, Lima and Salvo)'.

Di Maggio, who gave a detailed description of the flat, said the meeting lasted between three and three-and-a- half hours.

The latest batch of material sent to the commission also contains alleged evidence that Mr Andreotti met other mafiosi. It includes what are purported to be photographs of him with the relatives of a Mafia member at a religious event in Rome. Mr Andreotti was earlier accused of ordering the Mafia to carry out two political murders.

The allegations were a reminder that the past still needs clearing up, as Italians exulted over the outcome of the referendum for a new electoral system that, it is hoped, will make corruption and abuses much harder.

'Now we can rebuild,' rejoiced Mario Segni, leader of the reform campaign. 'The new Italy is born,' announced the Corriere della Sera. 'An avalanche of 'yeses' has buried the old regime,' declared La Repubblica, adding that 'today is the first day of the new Republic'.

The 'new Italy' will take its first tentative steps tonight, after the Prime Minister, Giuliano Amato, tells parliament his government is at an end. In the ensuing debate, which will continue tomorrow, the political parties will declare what they want to happen next and how.

Later in the week, once Mr Amato has formally resigned, President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro will pick someone to form a government to push through the electoral reforms that the country has demanded.

But the post-referendum euphoria is being drowned out by the sound of politicians squabbling. The future Second Republic clearly has a difficult and controversial path ahead. The political parties and the groups that campaigned for reform disagree wildly over what kind of government Italy should have next. Some favour an 'institutional' government, led by the speaker of one of the houses of parliament and with ministers divorced from any party allegiance.

Others want a government of the 'yes' vote - meaning the groups that fought for change - with Mr Segni as prime minister. However, Mr Segni has insisted he is not interested in


Yet others advocate a government of technicians, while a second government led by Mr Amato - but with a wider base - is not ruled out. In fact, it has been practice for presidents to ask outgoing prime ministers to have another try, and President Scalfaro may choose this route, too.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before