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Two Go On Trial Charged with Spying for Libya

October 27, 1987

CATANIA, Sicily (AP) _ An Italian air force officer and an auto repairman went on trial Monday on charges of procuring classified NATO information for Libya.

Giuseppe Franchi, a warrant officer, and Paolo Riggio, an auto body shop worker, both of Militello, Sicily, were arrested on Feb. 20, 1986, in Catania.

Authorities said secret service agents surprised them in a square as they were preparing to hand over secret documents from NATO’s Comiso air base to an unidentified Libyan agent, who escaped.

Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi has often charged the Comiso base, where U.S. nuclear cruise missiles are deployed, poses a threat to his country.

Riggio, 40, testified he had paid Franchi as much as 5 million lire ($3,800) for each day the officer supplied him with classified documents.

Franchi, 38, told the court he had given documents to Riggio, but said they were photocopies of outdated information that did not compromise state security.

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