The key witness in an Italian mafia trial has made more allegations linking Silvio Berlusconi to organised crime.
Massimo Ciancimino told a court on Monday that the mafia had backed the Italian Prime Minister’s first political party, Forza Italia, when it was set up in the early 90s.
He also produced a hand written letter allegedly from a member of the Corleone family to Berlusconi at the time the party was formed.
“It was a warning to fall into line, in order to not forget that Berlusconi himself, not as a person but as a political entity, was brought to power by these agreements,” said Ciancimino.
The witness also insisted that his father, a former Palermo Mayor, acted as a go-between between Corleone mob families and Berlusconi’s close aide Marcello dell’Utri.
But Ciancimino’s testimony has been rubbished by Berlusconi’s political allies, who have accused him of being a fake informant.
“Often when the mafia wants to discredit adversaries it chooses not to physically assassinate them but to question their legitimacy,” explained Italy’s Justice Minister Angelino Alfano.
The Italian Premier says the allegations are unfounded and part of a campaign against him by biased courts.