Berlusconi party ex-MP turn self in at Naples jail

Cosentino accused of collusion with the Neapolitan mafia

Berlusconi party ex-MP turn self in at Naples jail

Naples, March 15 - Nicola Cosentino, a Mob-linked former MP for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, turned himself in at a Naples prison Friday. Cosentino had been free as parliament voted not to ratify two arrest warrants relating to accusations of corruption and collusion with the Casalesi clan of the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra. But his privileges as a lawmaker ended Friday when the new term of parliament started after the PdL did not include him on its list of candidates for last month's general election. Cosentino, a former industry undersecretary, had two recent petitions for the arrest warrants to be revoked turned down by courts. He is accused of corruption, re-using illicit capital and allegedly helping the Casalesis invest in a shopping mall near Caserta northwest of Naples. Berlusconi said in the run-up to the election that he "regretfully" was forced to drop Cosentino, who is a PdL heavyweight in the Campania region around Naples, a former party leader and still a big potential vote-catcher there. Prosecutors have alleged that Cosentino was the "national reference point" of the Casalesis, who come from the Campania town he was born in, Casal di Principe. Cosentino denies wrongdoing and Berlusconi has described the case against him as an example of alleged judicial persecution. The Casalesis are the Camorra clan whose death threats have forced anti-mafia writer Roberto Saviano into round-the-clock police protection. Saviano's 2006 bestseller Gomorrah, Italy's Other Mafia, was turned into a film that won second prize at Cannes in 2008.

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