Ex-Berlusconi official arrested for mafia collusion

2014-04-03 20:54
Silvio Berlusconi (Picture: AP)

Silvio Berlusconi (Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Naples - Italian police arrested a former member of Silvio Berlusconi's government, accusing him of colluding with the mafia to quash competition against his family's petrol distribution business near Naples, officials said on Thursday.

Nicola Cosentino, an undersecretary in the Economy Ministry from 2008-2010 and the ex-boss of Berlusconi's party in the region around Naples, was arrested along with 12 others on suspicion of extortion and unfair competitive practices.

The Italian mob has always sought alliances with business and political leaders, even at the highest levels.

Seven-time Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti was acquitted of mafia charges, but found to have had ties to the Sicilian Mafia's top bosses before 1980. Berlusconi himself has been investigated, though never tried, for ties to organised crime.

In a statement, Naples anti-mafia prosecutors say Cosentino, his two brothers Giovanni and Antonio, and two brothers of mob boss Antonio Zagaria set up a "criminal system" to control the local petrol distribution market.

Cosentino used his political sway in local administrative offices to favour his family business and create bureaucratic obstacles for the competition, while the mob intimidated and extorted petrol distributors not owned or supplied by Cosentino's company, prosecutors said.

Cosentino had a "stable relationship based on common interests" with members of the local mafia, known as the Casalesi clan, prosecutors said in a statement released after the arrests.

Two Cosentino lawyers did not immediately respond to calls for comment.

Threaten officials

Among those arrested on Thursday were two employees of the Italian unit of Kuwait Petroleum International (known by its trademark Q8), which refines and distributes petroleum products around the world for the state of Kuwait.

The employees were complicit in favouring the Cosentino family business, prosecutors say. The company had no immediate comment, but said it planned to release a statement later.

This is Cosentino's second arrest for mafia charges in a year. After losing parliamentary immunity, he turned himself in for separate charges in March of 2013. He was later put under house arrest and then released in November.

That trial is ongoing and Cosentino has denied any wrongdoing.

Mafia groups in the southern regions of Campania, Calabria, Apulia and Sicily continue to use violence and threats to control their local economies, and they do not hesitate to threaten officials who refuse to co-operate.

Threats against local government officials have risen 66 percent since 2010, when the figures were first collected, according to a report published last month.

Read more on:    mafia  |  silvio berlusconi  |  italy
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Travel

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an emphasis on work. There may be some restrictions, or delays or extra responsibilities. It is all about rhythm and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.