||Palermo| Marcello Dell Utri
Born: September 11, 1941 - Palermo
Marcello Dell'Utri is an Italian politician convicted for collusion with the Mafia. After school in his native city, he went to Milan to study Law at university. After graduation, Dell'Utri went back to Palermo to work at the Cassa di Risparmio di Sicilia (English: Sicilian Savings Bank), but by 1973 he was back in Milan where he began work for Silvio Berlusconi's building firm Edilnord. Late in the 1970s, he went to work at Bresciano Costruzioni, but in 1980 he was called by Berlusconi and worked as the manager (later managing director) of publishing company Publitalia 80.
He was the person who introduced Vittorio Mangano, already charged for Mafia crimes, to Silvio Berlusconi, as a gardner and stable man. In 1994 he was one of the founders of Forza Italia, and in 1995 he left Publitalia '80. In 1996 he was elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies (lower house of the Italian Parliament).
In 1996, the Mafia pentito (turncoat) Salvatore Cancemi declared that Berlusconi and Dell'Utri were in direct contact with Mafia boss TotÚ Riina. After a two-year investigation, magistrates closed the inquiry without charges. They did not find evidence to corroborate Cancemiís allegations. Similarly, a two-year investigation, also launched on evidence from Cancemi, into Berlusconiís alleged association with the Mafia was closed in 1996. Cancemi disclosed that Fininvest, through Marcello Dell'Utri and mafioso Vittorio Mangano, had paid Cosa Nostra 200 million lire (100 000 euro) annually. The alleged contacts, according to Cancemi, were to lead to legislation favourable to Cosa Nostra, in particular the harsh 41-bis prison regime. The underlying premise was that Cosa Nostra would support Berlusconi's Forza Italia party in return for political favours.
In 1999 the Corte di Cassazione (the highest judicial court in Italy) sentenced him to 2 years and 3 months for tax fraud and false accounting. Despite this, during the same year, he was elected as a MEP, and in 2001 he was appointed to the Italian Senate. He is currently on trial for complicity in conspiracy with the Mafia (Italian: concorso in associazione mafiosa), crime for which he was judged guilty in first instance and sentenced to 9 years in 2004.
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