Europe

Italy Arrests Reveal Links to Gemayel’s Presidential Bid

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Another Italian political figure was arrested for trying to help a Mafia-convicted businessman flee to Lebanon, with the arrests revealing possible links to the head of the Lebanese Phalange party Amin Gemayel’s presidential bid, according to The International Business Times on Thursday.

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The International Business Times said that a former Silvio Berlusconi aide and Italian interior minister, Claudio Scajola, has been arrested for allegedly attempting to help a Mafia-convicted businessman reach Lebanon and escape Italian justice.
According to the daily, Scajola was cooperating with a Beirut-based wheeler-dealer named as Vincenzo Speziali who organized the plot to get the businessman, shipowner Amedeo Matacena, out of his five-year jail sentence.

Speziali had organized the brief escape of a Berlusconi aide accused of mafia ties, Marcello Dell’Utri, who was arrested in Beirut in April.

The daily said this strange Beirut-Italy mafia connection could point to deeper relationships between Lebanese politicians and Italy’s Bel Paese Christian centrist establishment.

The daily also said Speziali is reportedly married to the niece of Gemayel.
Gemayel launched an initiative earlier this week to find a way out of the stalemate in the presidential election to choose a successor of Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, who is due to step down as president on May 25.

Last month, Italian media said that Dell’Utri was sent by Berlusconi at the request of Russia to help Gemayel win the Lebanese presidential election.

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