(ANSA) - Rome, July 18 - Silvio Berlusconi on Monday failed to respond to a call-up from Palermo prosecutors who wanted to question the former Italian premier about alleged negotiations between the State and the Sicilian mafia in the early 1990s, several Italian newspapers reported on Wednesday. The media-magnate, who is expected to run for a fourth term as premier next year, reportedly justified his failure to attend the meeting because of official business that presented a "legitimate impediment". Palermo prosecutors are looking at negotiations that allegedly took place to try to stop a series of Cosa Nostra bomb attacks that claimed the lives of anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992. Berlusconi said in a statement that comments attributed to him about the case by Rome-based newspaper La Repubblica on Wednesday were false. The case has caused Palermo prosecutors to clash with Italy's head of state, President Giorgio Napolitano. On Monday Napolitano called on the Constitutional Court to intervene because prosecutors in the Sicilian capital had surpassed their powers by wiretapping his conversations and failing to destroy the recordings.
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di Giovanni Pastore