Italian politicians held for trading votes with mafia

Of the five politicians arrested Tuesday from southern Italy, Santi Zappala, a member of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's conservative People of Liberty Party and part of the Calabria Regional Council, was the only one to win the regional elections held in March.
Police also arrested members of the Ndrangheta mafia syndicate, businessmen and election officials.

Politicians from the Calabria region allegedly visited the apartment of crime boss Peppe Pelle offering favourable treatment for mafia inmates and public works contracts if the mafioso could deliver votes, according to the anti-mafia investigators who overheard their conversation by listening devices planted in the mobster's home.

The Ndrangheta from Calabria is considered Italy's richest and most powerful mafia organisation.

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