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Former Berlusconi minister arrested over mafia ally collusion

A FORMER minister in Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing government was arrested in a luxury Rome hotel today for allegedly helping a political ally convicted of mafia collusion to flee abroad.

Claudio Scajola is accused of helping Amedeo Matacena to flee to Dubai, evading a five-year jail sentence, said anti-mafia prosecutor Arturo de Felice.

Mr Matacena was declared a fugitive last summer. He was tried for ties with the Calabrian ’ndrangheta crime syndicate.

Mr Scajola resigned as industry minister in 2010 amid allegations that he paid far below market value for a luxury apartment overlooking the Colosseum in Rome. 

He was later tried and acquitted of wrongdoing. 

Mr Scajola is the second close Berlusconi aide to come under judicial scrutiny. 

Marcello Dell’Utri has been declared a fugitive in Italy and detained in Lebanon, where he fled before a decision on an appeal against his conviction for mafia links.

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