B’sconi crony going to trial

MILAN — Marcello Dell’Utri, the closest political associate of Silvio Berlusconi and former No. 2 in Fininvest, will have to stand trial Oct. 15 in Palermo, Sicily, on charges of contacts with the Italian Mafia, judicial sources said.

Dell’Utri, former chairman and CEO of Fininvest advertising arm Publitalia and currently a member of the Parliament in the ranks of Berlusconi’s party Forza Italia, is accused by 23 repentant members of the Mafia of being a go-between of Cosa Nostra (the Sicilian Mafia) and the business community in Milan, where Fininvest is based.

Separately, in Milan, the corruption trial of Berlusconi was postponed for a second time for procedural reasons. Italy’s former prime minister and Fininvest owner, his brother Paolo and about a dozen executives from the Fininvest media group are accused of paying bribes to tax inspectors during audits of the company. Berlusconi also is charged in a separate case of illegally financing the former Italian Socialist Party of ex-premier Bettino Craxi.

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