23 February 2009

Federal police investigating ex-immigration minister about visa for the mafia

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A federal police investigation will be looking into allegations that the Liberal Party received donations of up to $100,000 in return for securing a visa for a mafia-linked drug-trafficker, Francesco Madafferi.

Amanda Vanstone, Immigration Minister under Howard's Liberal Government, is being investigated by the police because of her decision to overrule a deportation ruling for Madaferri, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

In 2005, Ms Vanstone's predecessor had ordered Madafferi's deportation to Italy because of his drug-trafficking offences.  After being approached by four Liberal Party leaders regarding his visa for Australia, Ms Vanstone overruled the deportation and allowed him to stay and live in Australia.

The police are investigating claims that the significant donations made by the Madafferi family to the Liberal Party over the years instigated the overruling.  According to reporters, after Ms Vanstone made the decision, the Madafferi family donated another $30,000 to the NSW Liberal Party.

Ms Vanstone, who now has the post of Ambassador to Italy, denies all allegations.

"I just was not involved other than as a guest speaker at fund-raisers," she said.  "Any inference made vis a vis any donation being related in any way to seeking influence is to me highly offensive, scurrilous and defamatory."

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