Archive/File: pub/people/p/priebke.erich/press/rai-denies-paying-0895 Last-Modified: 1995/08/31 ROME (Reuter) - Italian state broadcaster RAI denied Thursday that it paid $30,000 for an interview with an ex-Nazi whom Rome wants to extradite from Argentina and try for war crimes. ``No payment has been or will be paid for the interview given by ex-captain Erich Priebke to TG3,'' said Daniela Brancati, director of RAI channel three news. Italian newspapers had quoted Brancati earlier as saying that Priebke's revelations merited payment and that in any case RAI would recoup its costs be reselling the interview to others. A RAI spokesman said he believed Priebke, 81, a former SS officer, had asked for money but management ruled out any payment. Italy wants to try Priebke over the country's worst wartime atrocity, the 1944 Ardeatine Caves massacre of 355 men and boys by SS officers in reprisal for the killing of 33 German soldiers by partisans. An Argentine court last week rejected Italy's request but Germany then sought Priebke's extradition. Marco Taradash, head of the parliamentary commission overseeing RAI, asked the broadcaster Wednesday to clarify whether it had paid for its one-hour interview with Priebke. ``It would be mind-boggling for the Nazi criminal to be able to use money from Italian public television to pay his legal fees incurred in Italy's attempt to try him,'' he said. In the interview, filmed in Priebke's home town of San Carlos de Bariloche and broadcast late Thursday, the ex-Nazi said he had lived in Italy until 1948 when ``an offer came through the (Roman Catholic) Church to move to Argentina.'' ``A Franciscan priest helped us and we obtained passports through the International Red Cross,'' he added. Last year, Priebke said in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica that the Vatican had indirectly helped him and his family to get to Argenina. Asked in the RAI interview whether Pope Pius XII knew the Church was helping him to flee, Priebke said: ``I have no idea.'' He also said he had visited Italy twice since leaving the country, the last time in 1979-80 when he dined in Rome with a Nazi major also wanted in connection with the Ardeatine Caves massacre.
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