Italy: Police raid top court in anti-Mafia probe

Palermo, 17 June (AKI) - Police on Tuesday raided Italy's highest appeals court, in an ongoing anti-Mafia probe that led to eight arrests on Monday, according to Italian daily La Repubblica's website.

The probe is investigating alleged collusion between Mafia bosses and members of masonic lodges to delay trials pending at Italy's court of cassation.

Under Italy's statute of limitations, cases automatically lapse after a certain period of time if the trial has not been completed.

Anti-Mafia police carried out searches at the court of cassation's headquarters in the capital, Rome, La Repubblica said.

A court employee was among the eight people arrested late on Monday. Charges against the suspects include Mafia association, perversion of the course of justice, embezzlement, illegally accessing court computer systems and disclosing confidential information.

Those arrested include a woman police officer, a gynaecologist from Palermo, entrepreneurs from Agrigento and the western Sicilian coastal city of Trapani.

The gynaecologist, whom an appeals court has convicted on charges of violent sexual acts against a female minor, allegedly paid substantial bribes to have his case at the court of cassation shelved, La Repubblica said.

The medic's case has been with the court for three years, La Repubblica reported.

Dozens of police searches are continuing as part of the anti-Mafia probe, dubbed 'Hiram', which began in 2006 when police investigated several Mafia families in Trapani.

The probe involves anti-Mafia investigators from Trapani, the southern Sicilian city of Agrigento, Rome and the central Italian city of Terni, according to La Repubblica.


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