Italy’s government has been dealt another blow after a senior economic aide was accused of Mafia collusion.
Parliamentarian Nicola Cosentino – a firm favourite of Prime Minister Berlusconi – is alleged to have links with the infamous Casalese clan of the Camorra, the Neapolitan version of the Sicilian Mafia.
The news comes as the Italian government is already divided over Berlusconi’s judicial battles with what he calls “Communist magistrates”.
Cosentino, a native of Naples, had been tipped as a candidate for governor in next year’s regional elections.
The former anti-graft magistrate and government critic Antonio Di Pietro said Berlusconi’s party should be grateful to the judges because they have stopped it from proposing a candidate with legal questions against him.
The accusations against Cosentino have been made by several members of Camorra families.
A national newspaper that has been investigating the claims says the 50-year-old legislator had dealings with organised crime relating to illegal rubbish disposal in last year’s refuse crisis. Cosentino denies the charges.