Berlusconi Accused of Ties to Mafia

Gaspare Spatuzza speaks behind a curtain as Police and Carabinieri paramilitary officers stand guard, at the appeals trial of Sen. Marcello Dell'Utri at the Turin court, Italy, Friday, Dec. 4, 2009. Spatuzza, a convicted mob hit man turned prosecution witness, has linked Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi to a purported deal with the Mafia in the 1990s.
AP Photo/Alberto Ramella
A convicted mob hit man testified Friday that he was told Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi made a political deal with the Mafia in the 1990s.

Berlusconi has denied the allegation.

The witness, Gaspare Spatuzza, testified as a prosecution witness at the appeals trial of Sen. Marcello Dell'Utri, a close political associate of Berlusconi who was convicted in 2004 of ties with the Sicilian Mafia and sentenced to nine years in prison.

Berlusconi is not formally involved in the trial.

Spatuzza, who is serving a life sentence for several murders, told the court that in 1993 he was told by his boss, Giuseppe Graviano, that the mob had made a deal with Berlusconi that would provide unspecified "benefits" to the Mafia. The media mogul entered politics a few months later and won his first term as premier in 1994 elections.

Reports of Spatuzza's allegations have been swirling for days.

Berlusconi and Dell'Utri have both branded them ridiculous and denied any link to the Mafia.