Lebanon News

Lebanon extradites Berlusconi’s ally

Italian former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi leaves the Catholic hospice "Sacra Famiglia" (Holy Family Institute foundation) in Cesano Boscone after his first day of community service for tax fraud on May 9, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE)

BEIRUT: Lebanon Friday extradited former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi’s assistant, Marcello Dell’Utri, back to Italy, where he will be tried for having ties to the mafia.

An Italian security delegation received Dell’Utri and accompanied him to Italy via the Rafik Hariri International Airport.

Italian authorities had filed a request to extradite Dell’Utri back to Rome, weeks after security forces apprehended him in Beirut on charges of mafia connections.

A high-ranking judicial source told The Daily Star Thusday that Lebanon sent a letter to Italian authorities asking them to dispatch a delegation to receive Dell’Utri, who has been in Lebanese custody since his arrest on April 11.

In May, Italy’s top court confirmed a seven-year sentence for Dell’Utri for having ties to the mafia, concluding a legal case launched in 2004.

Dell’Utri led the advertising arm of Berlusconi’s media business empire, and helped launch the disgraced premier’s political career in the early 1990s.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that Dell’Utri was sent to Lebanon by Berlusconi at the request of Russia to help Kataeb leader Amine Gemayel win the presidential election. Gemayel denied the claims.





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