Martedì, 18 Settembre 2018

Berlusconi Campania ex-chief on trial in Casalesi case


Naples, November 20 - The former head of ex-premier
Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party in Campania
was sent to trial Tuesday for allegedly helping the Casalesi
clan of the Naples Camorra mafia invest in a shopping mall near
PdL MP Nicola Cosentino, a former economy undersecretary,
denies wrongdoing in the case, whose first hearing was on
Tuesday set for January 23.
Cosentino stood down as PdL coordinator in Campania, the
region around Naples, in January, shortly after the House
rejected a request from Naples prosecutors to arrest him on
suspicion of corruption and collusion with the Casalesis.
He is accused of pressuring members of Italy's largest
bank Unicredit into providing financing for the construction of
the sprawling mall, a project with alleged ties to the
The Casalesis, whose fugitive leader Michele Zagaria was
arrested last December, became known to the international
public thanks to writer Roberto Saviano's bestselling 2006 book
Gomorrah, later turned into a successful film that won second
prize at Cannes in 2008.
Naples prosecutors claim Cosentino was the "national
reference point" for the Casalesis, who have extensive interests
in northern Italy, northern Europe, Australia and Canada.
Cosentino quit as undersecretary in July 2010 after
allegations of being part of a lobby that aimed to influence
high-court judges in Berlusconi's favour.
But the former undersecretary long clung on to his post as
the PdL's leader in Campania.
Cosentino was also accused by prosecutors in 2009 of links
with the Camorra but parliament rejected an arrest warrant and
Berlusconi turned down his proffered resignations from both his
Cosentino has been supportedby Berlusconi, who has
consistently attacked prosecutors for their alleged political
aims, and the ex-undersecretary went on a Berlusconi TV channel
ahead of the House vote in January to reject any ties to the
He and other members have contended that the charges
against him essentially boil down to money laundering, which he
also denies.

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