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Jailed mafia boss claimed Berlusconi asked him a favour

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Jailed mafia boss claimed Berlusconi asked him a favour

Jailed mafia boss Filippo Graviano told a cellmate that Italy's former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, asked him "a favour" according to a transcript of a bugged conversation cited by prosecutors on Friday.

"Berlusconi asked me for this favour...that's why there was the urgency to... He wanted to come down... he said that would be great," Graviano told a fellow inmate, Umberto Adinolfi, the transcript stated.

The conversation was recorded in Ascoli Piceno's prison exercise yard on 10 April 2016. It is one of a series dated between March 2016 and April this year that have been included in evidence for an ongoing trial into alleged negotiations between the State and the Sicilian mafia in the early 1990s.

The nature of the alleged favour Berlusconi asked Graviano was among numerous omissions in the transcripts which will be supported with audio tapes, prosecutor Vittorio Teresi said.

In other bugged conversations, Graviano also vows revenge on Berlusconi, calling him as a traitor who had "stabbed him in the back" and abandoned him, according to the transcripts.

"When Berlusconi started in the 1970s he started on the right footing, throw in some luck and he ended up what he is," Graviano said in a conversation on 19 January.

"When he found himself with a (political) party in 1994, it went to his head... he distanced himself and became a traitor'.

In another conversation in March this year, Graviano says:

"You know that I've done 24 years, my family is destroyed..you're giving whores money every month...and you are letting me die in jail...I brought you prosperity, 24 years ago they arrest me and you start stabbing me (in the back)".

"I'll make Mr Bastard have a bad old age... you piece of shit.. how come you got into government. You've done shameful and unjust things."

Nicolo Ghedini, one of Berlusconi's lawyers, on Friday dismissed the transcripts as "baseless", claiming the ex-premier never had "direct or indirect contact" with Graviano.

Graviano and his brother Giuseppe are serving multiple life terms for their part in a 1993 mafia bombing campaign that killed ten people and injured dozens.

Giving evidence at the 2009 appeals trial of Marcello Dell'Utri, co-founder of Berlusconi's conservative Forza Italia party, Graviano denied he had ties with Dell'Utri as alleged by mafia informant Gaspare Spatuzza.

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

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

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

Spatuzza testified at the trial that the Graviano brothers had boasted of links to Berlusconi and Dell'Utri in 1994.

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