Page last updated at 15:32 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009

Italian Mafia boss Graviano denies Berlusconi link

Marcello Dell'Utri in the Palermo court
Marcello Dell'Utri is appealing against his conviction and sentence

A jailed Mafia boss has denied suggestions that he had ties with a co-founder of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's political party.

Filippo Graviano appeared via video link at a Palermo appeal court hearing into the conviction of senator Marcello Dell'Utri for Mafia association.

He said he had had no contact with Mr Dell'Utri.

Mafia informant Gaspare Spatuzza had linked Mafia bosses, including Graviano, with politicians last week.

Filippo Graviano is serving multiple life terms with his brother Giuseppe for their part in a 1993 Mafia bombing campaign.

Giuseppe Graviano did not answer prosecutor's questions on Friday, citing health reasons.

'No promises'

Filippo Graviano also said he had not sought political protection after his arrest in 1994.

"There was no need to ask help from anyone," he said.

"There was no-one who had something to promise me."

Spatuzza, who appeared at the hearing last week when it was held in a Turin court for security reasons, said that the Graviano brothers had boasted of links with Mr Berlusconi and Dell'Utri in 1994.

Dell'Utri is appealing against his conviction and nine-year sentence for Mafia association.

Mr Berlusconi is not formally linked to the case of his political associate.

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