Rome

President has 'nothing to hide' over state-mafia negotiation

Napolitano had 'principle to defend' in clash with prosecutors

President has 'nothing to hide' over state-mafia negotiation

(ANSA) - Rome, July 20 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said Friday he had nothing to hide after asking the Constitutional Court to intervene in prosectors' handling of a probe into alleged State-mafia negotiations in the early 1990s. On Monday Napolitano turned to the court, arguing Palermo magistrates had surpassed their powers by wiretapping the conversations of his legal advisor during their investigations and failing to destroy them afterwards, as the Constitution mandates. Antonio Di Pietro, the leader of the small anti-graft party Italy of Values and a former magistrate, blasted the move, suggesting the head of state was hampering the investigators' attempts to get to the bottom of a dark part of Italy's history. The prosecutors are looking at suspicions that high-ranking politicians entered negotiations with Cosa Nostra to stop a series of bomb attacks that claimed the lives of anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992. But Napolitano on Friday reiterated his argument that the powers of the Italian president would be diminished for future holders of the office if he accepted the conduct of the prosecutors. "I don't have anything to hide, but I do have a principle to defend," Napolitano said. "It is about the head of state's basic guarantee of privacy and liberty to carry out the office's functions". Napolitano himself has recently been linked in media reports to investigations into alleged state-mafia negotiations. The head of state said last month that there was no truth behind the reports and argued he was the victim of a "campaign of insinuations and suspicion".

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