Italy mafia suspect 'aided daughter's TV talent bid'

Mobile phone, generic Mr Ferrara would have been able to check on whether the texts had been sent

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An Italian man arrested on suspicion of mafia activity gave out hundreds of mobile phones to try to bring his daughter success in a television talent show, police believe.

Domenico Ferrara, 56, is suspected of leading a clan of the Camorra network, which operates in the Naples region.

Some 300 phones were found that had been used to text into "Ti lascio una canzone" (Leaving you a song).

Mr Ferrara's 13-year-old daughter was on the show. She came in second.

The BBC's Alan Johnston in Rome says that alongside Mr Ferrara's alleged interest in drug smuggling, he was keen to develop his daughter's singing career and was ready to do whatever it took.

Just before she appeared on the show in December, he gave out about 300 phones in his area with, our correspondent says, clear instructions on how they should be used.

All the phones were collected and brought back to him and each would have had a record of any text sent.

The police said that they found the phones piled in bags in Mr Ferrara's home and that they had been used to text the show.

On the big night, his daughter came second, and our correspondent says it is unclear whether her father's efforts affected the result.

Viewers of Ti Lascio Una Canzone are allowed to vote as many times as they want.

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