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Mafia grass says Italy judges took bribes to alter murder verdicts

A mafia boss turned informant has accused judges in Naples of having accepted bribes to acquit him of murders he has confessed to carrying out, Italian media said Thursday.

ROME: A mafia boss turned informant has accused judges in Naples of having accepted bribes to acquit him of murders he has confessed to carrying out, Italian media said Thursday.

"There was a whole system set up in the court in Naples. Three times the clan paid to ensure an acquittal," former Camorra boss Antonio Iovine told anti-mafia judges, adding that up to 250,000 euros ($340,000) had been paid each time.

Iovine, who went by the nickname "Babyface", headed up the Casalesi clan until his arrest in 2010 after 14 years on the run, and became an informant in May.

In his debriefings, he told magistrates his lawyer Michele Santonastaso -- currently serving time for mafia ties -- had asked him twice for large sums of money to change guilty verdicts against him for murder at the appeal stages of the trials.

He said Santonastaso had suggested the money may be going to the head of the Naples' appeal court Pietro Lignola -- who overturned a life sentence against Iovine -- though he admitted his lawyer did not finger Lignola directly.

Lignola, who has since retired, denied the accusations, telling the Corriere della Sera daily that if investigators "want to look into my affairs, no problem."

"They'll see I never took a penny," he said.

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