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18 arrested in Italy in mafia infiltration probe

Posted on May 17 2014 | IANS

Rome, May 17 : Police in Florence Friday arrested 18 people, including two agents working in Italy's government and parliament, in a probe on mafia infiltration in the area, media reports said.

The two agents, working for the office of Italian prime minister and the parliament's lower chamber, were suspected of furnishing politicians, businessmen as well as mafia suspects with privileged information on criminal investigations, Xinhua reported.

According to the media, the two policemen could have also built ties with former industry and interior minister Claudio Scajola, who was detained last week on charges of helping a fugitive convicted for mafia links.

Scajola was found to be in close relations with Amedeo Matacena, a former MP who was convicted for mafia links, and his wife to help the fugitive escape to Libano.

Italy in recent weeks has been hit by a series of major corruption scandals involving top officials and politicians.

Following Scajola's arrest, a former senator and close ally of three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi, Marcello Dell'Utri, was convicted for mafia association.

On Thursday, an MP of ruling Democratic Party, Francantonio Genovese, was arrested for embezzlement, days after prosecutors in Milan uncovered a network of bid rigging linked to next year's world exposition.

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