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Italy Corruption Watch 2014

There are lots of lucrative troughs for the corrupt in Italy

New for 2014 on Italy Chronicles, a post dedicated to recording instances of actual and suspected corruption in Italy. In Italy, alas, corruption is a major problem which penetrates politics and business as well as damaging Italy’s economy and dissuading foreign direct investment.

While Italy has acknowledged a problem exists and is attempting to sort it out, it has still not got the matter under control. The EU has been putting pressure on Italy to act too.

This post will serve as a record of cases of corruption, abuse of power and similar crimes which come to my attention. Organised crime will come in for a few mentions too, no doubt.

While I’ll do my best to keep this post updated, you can help too – if there’s something you know about which has not been mentioned here, leave a comment, preferably with a link to an article, in Italian or English, where more information can be found. Thanks in advance – Alex Roe 🙂

The most recent cases will appear first:

Added, 15 January 2014

Arrested: Mayor of Licata, Sicily, Angelo Balsamo, 58. The mayor, now under house arrest, is facing charges of fraud, perjury, and corruption.

Arrested: Genoa, Rosario Puglisi, 54, Italian internal revenue service official. Puglisi had requested €10,000 from business owner so tax inspections weren’t carried out.

Extortion: Candidate for position in Italy’s Guardia di Finanza financial police asked to pay €30,000 in return for an selection test pass. Six serving members and ex-official of the Guardia di Finanza under investigation.

Attempted corruption: 40 year old lawyer from Sant’Anastasia near Naples facing charges of attempting to corrupt two carabinieri policemen by offering them €550 allegedly to turn a blind eye to minor motoring offence.

Added, 14 January 2014

After refuse management malpractice uncovered in Rome, mentioned below, the city needed a new refuse disposal boss. It’s got one. Ivan Strozzi is his name, however, Strozzi is himself under investigation for refuse management malpractice amongst other things such as defrauding the public sector. Italian readers can find out more here: Roma, Marino nomina nuovo ad dell’Ama. Ma è indagato per traffico di rifiuti. Such ill-considered appointments illustrate why Italy’s problems with corruption never seem to diminish.

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Minor abuse of power and taxpayers money? According to Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, Nunzia De Girolamo, Italy’s Agriculture Minister, and her family, plus a few friends were picked up by Forestry Service (!?) vehicles upon return from a holiday in the Maldives. De Girolamo‘s hubby, also a well-paid politician, decided to take a taxi instead, but probably only because he spotted, or was warned about, the journalists. Italy’s politicians are not permitted to use official vehicles for private trips.

Arrested: Nicolò Scialfa, ex-president of Liguria region junta for “crazy expenses” claims. He allegedly abused party funds to the tune of €70,000 – Italy’s political parties receive public funding via reimbursements for electoral expenses, though this is to change, slowly.

Actually, quite a number of Italy’s local level politicians are under investigation similarly for “crazy expenses” claims. For example, over 80 plus regional politicians, consultants and others in Sicily are under investigation for suspected embezzlement. Around €10 million appears to have been used for unofficial purposes such as purchasing jewellery, designer underwear and more.

There are lots of lucrative troughs for the corrupt in Italy
There are lots of lucrative troughs for the corrupt in Italy

Added, 13, January 2014

Italy’s Agriculture Minister, Nunzia De Girolamo, a product of the Berlusconi stable, is facing accusations of abuse of power and setting up one sided tenders for public services. She is not under formal investigation yet, but may well be soon. De Girolamo denies any wrongdoing and claims she is being victimized by Italy’s media.

Arrested: The former Deputy Mayor of L’Aquila, a city in Italy’s Abruzzo region badly damaged by an earthquake in 2009,  A few others have also been arrested in connection with the distribution of reconstruction works tenders. Backhanders strongly suspected.

Arrested: Bruno Landi, former president of Lazio region within which Italy’s capital Rome is situated. Also under arrest, Manlio Cerroni, the owner of the Malagrotta landfill site. Refuse management malpractice, plus bribery suspected.

Suspected election rigging – Piedmont region of Italy. Regional elections held nearly 4 years ago in 2010 have been declared null and void after irregularities with signatures were found in one the electoral lists presented by Roberto Cota, the region’s Lega Nord party member president. Cota is also currently under investigation for false expenses claims.

Suspected ‘ndrangheta mafia infiltration in Milan’s 2015 Expo construction works. The issue is under examination and has been so for a number of years, yet worries have not diminished.

That more cases will be added, I have little doubt, indeed, more cases have already been added!

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