Letter: How Andreotti holds court to inquisitors

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The Independent Online
Sir: The magistrates' investigation of Giulio Andreotti (profile, 17 April) is undoubtedly a joyful experience for anyone who follows Italian affairs, especially since the tide began to turn after the atrocious death of judge Giovanni Falcone at the hands of the Mafia nearly a year ago.

However, a word of bitter caution. The matter is remarkable for the speed and efficiency with which the formalities of the judicial process - particularly the request to lift parliamentary immunity from prosecution - are so far being conducted. Yet, interviewed by a panel of 'independent' journalists live on Italian state television immediately after the first accusations, Andreotti held court and juggled with obsequious, respectful and fearful men who were incapable of risking a direct question against him. Here, there was undoubtedly no change.

Andreotti, with his renowned 'Jesuitical' prowess, denies all charges; for the simple reason that an accusation has to be irrefutably proven; whether the long disintegrating structure of Italian justice will achieve this is another matter altogether. Until then he remains the most powerful man in Italy.

Yours sincerely,

JESSICA CORSI

Cambridge

19 April

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