Berlusconi mastermind jailed for mafia ties

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Marcello Dell'Utri arrived in Rome on Friday morning. Photo: Marcello Paternostro/AFP
11:04 CEST+02:00
Marcello Dell'Utri, a former Senator credited with masterminding Silvio Berlusconi's rise to power, is behind bars in Rome after being extradited from Lebanon overnight, Italian media reported on Friday.

Dell’Utri arrived at Rome’s Fiumicino airport at around 7.00am this morning, accompanied by agents from international law enforcement agency Interpol, Corriere della Sera reported. He was then transferred directly from the Alitalia flight to Rebibbia prison, on the edge of the Italian capital.

When contacted by The Local, a spokesperson for Interpol was not immediately available to comment on the extradition.

Dell’Utri’s jailing comes two months after he was arrested in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on an international arrest warrant.

His lengthy legal battle ended last month when Italy’s highest court upheld the seven-year prison sentence against the ex-senator, for doing deals with the Sicilian mafia on behalf of Berlusconi.

The former politician’s extradition to Italy attracted an inquisitive crowd on the overnight flight from Beirut, who filmed an unresponsive Dell’Utri on board the Alitalia flight.

In a video posted online, passengers question the convicted criminal before a blanket is held up to cover his face. Other attempts to film Dell’Utri are foiled by airline staff, while crew are heard over the tannoy pleading with passengers to stay in their seats and keep their mobile phones off.

Dell’Utri worked for Berlusconi’s Fininvest media company and was instrumental in orchestrating his boss’s rise from businessman to prime minister in the 1990s.

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The ex-premier is himself serving a sentence for tax fraud, although Berlusconi was able to avoid jail by doing community service.

READ MORE: Lebanon agrees to extradite Berlusconi ally

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