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Ticino judge denies corruption charges

The former Ticinese criminal court judge, Franco Verda, has denied charges of corruption, in a newspaper interview. Verda is accused of colluding with a suspected Italian cigarette smuggler.

This content was published on August 25, 2000 - 12:16

In an interview with the "Corriere del Ticino", Vera denied any wrongdoing. He is currently being investigated for alleged breach of confidentiality rules, partiality in court and accepting bribes. He said he had never accepted money at any time during his judicial career.

In the interview, he admitted having committed errors and being negligent in his relationship with suspected cigarette smuggler, Gerardo Cuomo.

Verda is accused of helping Cuomo in a trial surrounding confiscated money belonging to the Mafia boss and associate, Francesco Prudentino. Verda allegedly forewarned Cuomo about the outcome of the court case. The telephone calls were tapped by Italian police.

Cuomo was arrested on an Italian warrant in Switzerland in May on cigarette smuggling charges. Their friendship, said the 59 year-old judge, began at a time when Verda was ill, in 1998.

Verda said he was not considering returning to his job or any other post within the judicial system.

He was arrested on August 4 on charges of corruption and collusion with Cuomo. He was temporarily released from custody on Thursday after 20 days behind bars.

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