Member of Berlusconi’s Party Arrested For Associating With Mafia in Sicily
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ROME — A member of parliament in Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia Party has been arrested in Sicily on suspicion of associating with the Mafia.
One former Mafioso turned police informer claimed that Giovanni Mercadante, 58, was “the creature” of Bernardo Provenzano, the boss of all bosses who was arrested in April. Mr. Mercadante is the nephew of a senior boss, Tommaso Cannella, who was jailed in 2003.
Prosecutors alleged that in return for Mr. Mercadante’s friendship, Mr. Provenzano delivered a significant number of votes in Sicily to Forza Italia. In the 2001 general election, Mr. Berlusconi’s party won every one of the island’s 61 seats.
Several politicians have been identified as persons of interest to the authorities from documents found at Mr. Provenzano’s hideout in Corleone, and investigators suggested that more arrests will follow.
Mr. Mercadante, a medic who also worked in the oncology department of Maurizio Ascoli Hospital in Palermo, is the nephew of a senior boss, Tommaso Cannella, who worked with Mr. Provenzano before he was jailed in 2003.