There has been good and bad news for Silvio Berlusconi’s political fortunes.
A corruption trial of a close associate has heard that the Italian Prime Minister has never had any links with the Sicilian mafia.
It comes after a mobster last week claimed Berlusconi had ties with the Cosa Nostra – specifically with jailed clan boss Filippo Graviano.
But giving evidence via video link during the hearing of pro-Berlusconi senator Marcello Dell’Utri, Graviano told the Palermo court that he had neither sought political protection, nor to cooperate with magistrates after his arrest in 1994 for his part in a Mafia bombing campaign.
Dell’Utri is appealing against his nine-year jail term for links with the Mafia.
Meanwhile, a minister in Berlusconi’s cabinet has been ordered to stand trial for alleged corruption.
Raffaele Fitto, the regional affairs minister, is accused of accepting 500,000 euros in return for political favours when he was president of the Puglia region in 2004.