Palermo

Mafia probe into PdL Senate whip to continue

Renato Schifani accused by Cosa Nostra informant

Mafia probe into PdL Senate whip to continue

(updates previous)Palermo, July 5 - A probe into suspected mafia links by the Senate whip of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) Party is to continue. Renato Schifani, who was until recently Senate Speaker, is suspected of meeting Cosa Nostra boss Filippo Graviano when he was a lawyer in Palermo in the 1980s. A judge on Friday turned down a prosecutors' request to have the probe stopped and said he would hear prosecution and defence arguments on July 23. "After two years of speculation by the press of the existence of an investigation into me, today I finally had the opportunity to examine the reasons for the request signed by Palermo's antimafia pool for the case to be dismissed," Schifani said. He said he was sure that further investigations ordered by the court would show that he had nothing to do with the allegations. The probe was shelved in the past but reopened on the strength of informants' claims in summer 2010.

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