The Andreotti Affair: Supergrasses target Andreotti

GIULIO ANDREOTTI ran the gauntlet of the world's television and press reporters yesterday to face the Italian Senate's immunity commission for the second day running over charges of complicity with the Mafia. His return visit was to deny new allegations by two key supergrasses in the US that he had asked the Mafia to commit two murders and had met top Mafia bosses. The commission decided to vote by 22 April on whether to allow his prosecution, even if it meant sitting up all that night. Their decision will be passed to the full Senate for confirmation.

Statements by two Mafia pentiti or supergrasses contain the most alarming and most graphic accusations so far against former prime minister Giulio Andreotti. They add to a thick file of testimony collected by Palermo magistrates.

The statements, given earlier this month in the United States where both men live under protection, were made public this week. They had been delivered to the Italian Senate to support the Palermo magistrates' request for authorisation to proceed against Mr Andreotti on suspicion of association with the Mafia. In the following extracts from the statements, Francesco Marino Mannoia, one of the pentiti, sets the scene:

'Stefano Bontade (the top Mafia boss at the time) like Salvatore Riina (the current boss of bosses, now in jail) and Giuseppe Calo (another top boss) was one of the most intelligent men in Cosa Nostra. He knew that the power of Cosa Nostra would remain limited if at least some members of the organisation did not establish relations of friendship with external powers.

'It was precisely for this reason that Bontade, against the prevailing opinion in Cosa Nostra, decided to join a masonic lodge, well knowing that in such a way he would be able to have important contacts which would increase his power and his personal prestige.'

Salvatore Lima, an Italian MP and an MEP, leader of the Christian Democrat party in Sicily and Mr Andre otti's political viceroy in Sicily, assassinated last year, 'was a man of honour of the ancient family of Matteo Citarda of viale Lazio,' he said, revealing that, contrary to the general assumption, Lima had taken the formal oath and was a true member of the Mafia. This fact, Mannoia said, 'was always kept 'reserved' ', that is, accessible to only a very few members of the organisation.

It was through Lima that the Mafia complained to Mr Andreotti about the behaviour of Piersanti Mattarella, the Christian Democrat president of the Sicilian region who, although the son of a mafioso politician himself, had decided to combat the Mafia and clean up his own party.

'Andreotti,' he went on, 'came down to Palermo and met Stefano Bontade, the Salvo cousins (Antonino and Ignazio, both leading Mafia men and political go-betweens, now dead, the latter assassinated), Lima, Nicoletti (another Christian Democrat politician) Gaetano Fiore (mafioso) and others.

'The meeting took place in a hunting reservation somewhere in Sicily but I don't remember where . . . I learned of this meeting from Bontade . . . He told me only that they complained to Andreotti of the behaviour of Matterella and added 'we will see'. A few months later the murder of Mattarella was decided upon.

'. . . A few months after Mattarella's murder I went with Stefano Bontade and Salvatore Federico to a small villa owned (at least as I seem to remember) by an Inzerillo, uncle of Salvatore (Mafia boss, later assassinated).' Several prominent Mafia bosses were there. 'About an hour after my arrival . . . a bullet- proof Alfa Romeo, dark in colour with darkened windows, drove in. On board there were both Salvo cousins and Giulio Andreotti . . .

'From what I heard, Andreotti had come from Trapani where he had landed at the airport in a private plane rented by the Salvos, or at least on the Salvos' behalf . . . He arrived in the morning, it could have been about 10 or 11, I do not remember precisely. The meeting with him lasted at most three-quarters of an hour. I personally saw Andreotti during the said meeting in the villa. We were in the villa waiting precisely for him because Stefano Bontade had told us explicitly that he was coming.

'When we heard the horn of a car sound we rushed to open the gate. The car drove in and the gate was closed immediately after it . . . He, Andreotti, got out, scrutinising his surroundings, and immediately went into the villa as Stefano Bontade and the others were inviting him to. Then I saw Andreotti again when, at the end of the meeting, he left the villa and got into the car again. If I recall correctly he was dressed in a dark colour. He did not wear a coat or raincoat, the weather was warm. I only saw the suit . . . I did not take part in the talks since I remained outside in the garden . . . but I clearly heard shouts coming from inside. 'Driving back from the villa, Stefano Bontade said 'Andreotti had come to have clarifications about the murder of Mattarella.' Bontade told him (Andreotti) 'we are in command in Sicily and if you do not want to wipe out the Christian Democrat party completely you have to do as we say. If not we will take away not only your votes in Sicily but also in Reggio Calabria and all southern Italy. You can only count on the votes in the north' . . . Bontade said he warned Andreotti 'off the idea of adopting measures or special laws because otherwise other serious things will happen'.'

The other pentito, Tommaso Buscetta, said 'the political patron to whom Salvatore Lima turned on matters of interest to Cosa Nostra which had to have a solution in Rome was Giulio Andreotti . . . Lima was not the only middleman between the most important members of Cosa Nostra and Andreotti . . .

'Gaetano Badalamenti, a top Mafia boss now in jail in the US, told me he personally met Giulio Andreotti in Rome in connection with the latter's intervention in a Supreme Court case against Filippo Rimi, Badalamenti's brother-in-law. Rimi had been condemned to life imprisonment but as it turned out the Supreme Court ruling was favourable to him. Badalamenti, Rimi and one of the Salvos . . . went to Andreotti's office and met him there. Badalamenti told me Andreotti personally congratulated him saying that there 'should be people like him in every street in every town in Italy'.'

Buscetta had told the parliamentary anti-Mafia commission that a political 'entity' had asked the Mafia to kill General Alberto dalla Chiesa, the anti-Mafia prefect of Palermo, but declined to give any name. 'The entity of whom I spoke before the anti-Mafia commission is Giulio Andreotti,' Buscetta said in his statement.

He said Badalamenti and Bontade told him the murder of Mino Pecorel li, a Rome journalist, was the work of the Mafia. It 'was a political crime required by the Salvo cousins inasmuch as it had been asked of them by Andreotti . . . From what Badala menti told me it seems that Pecorelli was investigating 'political matters' linked to the Moro (the former prime minister) kidnapping . . . Andreotti was concerned that these secrets could leak out . . . (they were) secrets which Gen dalla Chiesa also knew.'

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
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: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing