One of Silvio Berlusconi’s closest allies accused of having links with the mafia has had his conviction upheld.
Though the verdict remains the same, Marcello Dell’Utri has had his jail sentence reduced from nine years to seven.
It was also found that Dell’Utri had no links to the mafia after 1992, despite claims from a jailed mafia hitman, who became a prosecution witness.
Palermo prosecutor, Antonino Gatto, said:
“I am very surprised because I thought the accusation was solid.”
Dell’Utri has not spent any time in jail since the original trial six years ago, but he may still appeal his sentence, even though he is pleased with latest judgement.
Speaking at a press conference in Milan, Dell’Utri said: “On the one hand, the judges gave the Palermo prosecutor’s office a small victory, on the other hand, they gave me big satisfaction.”
Dell’Utri is a long time friend of the Italian Prime Minister. He was once the chairman of Berlusconi’s advertising company, Publitalia, and is a senator of his People of Freedom Party.