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Fugitive in Berlusconi sex scandal arrested

Italy,Politics, Mon, 16 Apr 2012 IANS

Rome, April 16 (IANS/AKI) A man accused of involvement in a sex scandal along with former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was arrested Monday after having been on the run for six months.


Valter Lavitola, former director and editor of newspaper Avanti!, was arrested at Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci airport upon the arrival of his flight from Buenos Aires. He was taken to a prison in Naples.



Prosecutors in September last year had issued an arrest warrant for Lavitola on suspicion of having the job of passing money from Berlusconi to businessman Giampaolo Tarantini and his wife Angela Devenuto.


The couple were allegedly blackmailing the former prime minister over a sex scandal involving prostitutes provided by Tarantini for Berlusconi's sex parties.


Lavitola allegedly telephoned Berlusconi from Sofia, Bulgaria to ask him if he should come home to answer prosecutors' questions.


According to excerpts of wiretaps released by L'Espresso weekly magazine, Lavitola asked Berlusconi: "What should I do, return and clear everything up?"


"Stay where you are," Berlusconi advised him, according to the transcript.


Blackmail charges against Tarantini and Devenuto have been dropped.


Prosecutors now say Berlusconi paid money to Tarantini for a false testimony that Berlusconi did not realise the women were prostitutes.


The former prime minister is on trial for allegedly paying a minor for sex. He denies the charges.







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