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Italian police arrest local officials in anti-Mafia operation
www.chinaview.cn 2004-03-29 01:07:18

    ROME, March 29 (Xinhuanet) -- Italian police Monday arrested on Mafia-linked charges, more than 40 people including local politicians, businessmen, bankers and architects in Sicily Monday,the local media reported.

    According to the report, the regional government councilor Vincenzo Lo Giudice and Canicatti' Mayor Antonio Scrimali were among the 43 arrested in this anti-Mafia operation in three citiesof Sicily Caltanissetta, Agrigento and Palermo.

    The arrested suspects face a range of charges, including corruption, Mafia association, fraud relating to public works contracts, abuse of office and wrongdoing in the management of confiscated Mafia assets.

    The report said that Lo Giudice was accused of links with Mafiaclans based in Agrigento, and was also accused of fraud and receiving kickbacks in the assignment of numerous public works contracts.

    Scrimali was accused of corruption in connection with confiscated Mafia assets. He is charged with handing over confiscated land to an agricultural cooperative acting as a cover for the mob family which originally owned the land.

    According to investigators, local crime families used threats and violence to influence elections and muster votes for Lo Giudice and other candidates connected to the councilor, particularly during the general and regional elections in 2001. Enditem

    

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