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Italian Rogues of the Week: The Ligresti Family

Recently in Italy, a whole family of Italian rogues was arrested. That family was not some bunch of mafia mavericks, but the Ligresti family which was heavily involved in insurance in Italy.

The business methods of the Ligresti family were somewhat unconventional and allegedly included unhealthy doses of market manipulation, otherwise known as insider dealing, corruption and cooking books. The other day, over €250 million in assets were seized from the Ligresti clan.

The head of the family, one Salvatore Ligresti, was mixed up in Italy’s bribesville scandal of the 1990s and ended up spending 112 days in a Milan prison. A conviction followed and Salvatore spent his time doing charity work.

Actually, there are more than a few scandals surrounding the Ligresti family which, amongst a few other things, is suspected of ties to another large and powerful Italian ‘family’ – the Sicilian mafia.

Despite having a somewhat dodgy background and a conviction, Salvatore Ligresti even ended up on the board of one of Italy’s biggest banks – Gruppo Unicredit. Don’t worry, Ligresti is no longer on the board of this bank. Curiously though, the Ligresti family’s insurance business Fondiaria-SAI has ended up in the control of, guess who, yes, Gruppo Unicredit. Something smells a little fishy.

Adding to the stink, is Fondiaria-SAI’s €800 million debt and the mysterious payment of directors and ‘consultancy‘ fees to the tune of €22 million. Such fees in Italy often turn out to be a form of bribe. At least one of the “consultants” has links to convict Berlusconi’s political operations. Birds of a feather do tend to flock together in Italy, it has to be said.

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Whenever there are dodgy business dealings in Italy, the names of politicians inevitably crop up sooner or later. Such is Italy.

One of the Ligresti clan could not be arrested because he’s lurking in Switzerland. Extradition proceedings may fail to bring him back to Italy to join the rest of his family in an Italian jail.

The Ligresti affair is ongoing and more worms will emerge from the can.

In view of the past, criminal, record of Ligresti clan head Salvatore, it’s quite amazing he should have been allowed to keep running businesses, well, it would be quite amazing in other nations, even if it is no real surprise in Italy.

For running a dodgy business operation, suspected mafia links, plus allegations of multi-million Euro fraud, the Ligresti family easily earns itself the title of Italian rogues of the week.

Italian newspaper, Il Fatto Quotidiano has dedicated a whole section to the dodgy Ligresti family, in Italian: Famiglia Lingresti – News You might like to read a few articles, if you can, before setting up a business in Italy ;)

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