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Tuesday, 7 August, 2001, 21:46 GMT 22:46 UK
Italian police seize Mafia boss
Mafia boss Gaetano Scotto
Gaetano Scotto spent nine years on the run
Italian police have arrested a crime boss convicted and then cleared of killing a leading anti-Mafia judge and his five bodyguards in a car bomb attack nine years ago.

Gaetano Scotto was detained at an address in the northern Italian town of Chiavari after detectives tapped a phone in an apartment where he was staying, police said.

He had been on the run since Paolo Borsellini and his police guards were blown up outside Mr Borsellini's mother's home in the Sicilian capital, Palermo, on 19 July, 1992.

A court convicted Scotto in his absence and sentenced him to life for the murders, although he was acquitted on appeal.

Benedetto Spera
Benedetto Spera was convicted of killing two anti-mafia judges
Scotto was also sentenced to 16 years in jail for drug trafficking.

In January this year, another crime lord was arrested in connection with killing Mr Borsellini and another prominent anti-Mafia prosecutor, Giovanni Falcone.

Benedetto Spera, who had been on the run for 30 years, was convicted in absentia for the murders and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mr Falcone, his wife and three bodyguards were killed in their car when a bomb blew up on a motorway outside Palermo

The attack, two months before Mr Borsellini's murder, caused outrage among ordinary Italians who took to the streets in protest against the Mafia.

See also:

30 Jan 01 | Europe
Sicilian mafia boss arrested
06 Jan 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Mafia - past and present
24 Dec 00 | Europe
'Mob queen' found in cupboard
12 Dec 00 | Europe
UN tackles organised crime
12 Dec 00 | Europe
Mafia comeback mars UN conference
14 Nov 00 | Europe
Mafia 'gripping Italian economy'
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