Police seek arrest of Fiat chief

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The Independent Online
ROME (Reuter) - Milan magistrates investigating Italy's corruption scandal yesterday issued an arrest warrant for a top Fiat executive, who said he was 'most surprised'.

Court sources said Giorgio Garuzzo, joint number three in the Fiat hierarchy, was wanted on suspicion of corruption and illegal financing of political parties. The allegations stemmed from when he headed Fiat's Iveco truck division.

In a statement Mr Garuzzo said: 'Only last Thursday (1 April) and again the following day I specifically asked through my lawyer to be interviewed by the public prosecutor on aspects of their investigations into the affairs of Iveco I could assist in. I was told that they were not interested even though by Tuesday (6 April) they had my request to be heard in writing.' Mr Garuzzo would be the fifth Fiat executive to be arrested in the investigation. He is believed to be out of Italy on business.

Yesterday the former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti faced further isolation in his Christian Democrat (DC) party after a parliamentary committee branded his murdered right-hand man in Sicily a Mafia go- between.

Mr Andreotti has always defended his lieutenant, Salvo Lima, a former Palermo mayor, against frequent accusations of Mafia ties. The Mafia shot Lima dead in March 1992 and informers have said he was murdered for having failed to sabotage a 1987 trial in which leading mafiosi were given life sentences.

A parliamentary committee of inquiry into the Mafia has, with the DC's votes, approved a report accusing Lima of being an important Cosa Nostra contact. 'Lima's links with the Cosa Nostra were certain and he was the leader in Sicily of the DC faction headed by Andreotti,' it said.