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The black secrets of mafia man called Berlusconi 2/4Facts about the mystery life of BERLUSCONI

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The life and career of the entrepreneur Silvio Berlusconi remains studded with black holes and unanswered questions in spite of the authorized biographies that he has had published or promoted for auto-hagiographic ends over the years. This is a little review of the most disquieting omissions.

1) Edilnord Sas is the company Silvio Berlusconi founded 1963 to build Milano 2.
The limited partners on the operational level are, besides the future Knight of Labor, the accountant Edoardo Piccitto and the builders Pietro Canali, Enrico Botta and
Giovanni Botta. The limited partners who financed the operation are banker Carlo
Rasini, owner of the bank of the same name on the Via dei Mercanti in Milan, and business attorney Renzo Rezzonico, legal represntative of a Lugano investment firm,
Finanzierungesellshaft für Residenzen Ag  whose real owners are to remain unknown forever. However, these must have been very optimistic people to have entrusted enormous capital to Berlusconi, a young 27-year-old man who, up until that time, had not yet given off any proof of management skills worthy of note.

2) The Banca Rasini was the place where Silvio's father Luigi Berlusconi worked all his life on his way up from simple clerk to director general. Here is the answer that Michele Sindona (bankrupted P2 member linked with Cosa Nostra and the laundering of Mafia money) gave to American reporter Nick Tosches when he was asked which banks were used by the Mafia: "In Sicily sometimes the Banco di Sicilia. In Milan a little bank in Piazza Mercanti" that is, the Banca Rasini, where Luigi Berlusconi became the general director. Well-known Mafia figures and Sicilian drug dealers held bank accounts at the Banca Rasini, including Antonio Virgilio, Salvatore Enea, and
Luigi Monti, who is linked with Vittorio Mangano, the Mafia figure who worked as overseer in Berlusconi's villa between 1973 and 1975

3) On October 29, 1968, the real estate firm Edilnord Centri Residenziali Sas (a kind of Edilnord 2) was founded. This time, instead of Berlusconi, his 31-year-old cousin
Lidia Borsani appears as limited partner. The capital is supplied by another mysterious Lugano investment firm, the Aktiengesellshaft für Immobilienanlagen in
Residenzentren Ag" (Aktien), which itself was founded just 10 days before the founding of Edilnord 2. From this moment on, Berlusconi vanishes into nothingness, covered by a thicket of abbreviations and front-people. He is to re-emerge only in 1975 to preside over Italcantieri and in 1979 as president of Fininvest. In the meantime, dozens of companies are founded in the name of relatives and figureheads and controlled by companies whose real owners are unknown. As Giuseppe Fiori reconstructs it in his book Il venditore [The salesman] (Milan: Garzanti, 1994),
Italcantieri was founded in 1973, made up of two Ticino investment firms. The first is
Cofigen Sa of Lugano (linked to financier Tito Tettamanzi, close to masonry and the Opus Dei). The second is Eti A.G.Holding of Chiasso (managed by Ercole Doninelli, a financier from the extreme right and owner of the firm Fi.Mo, which was repeatedly investigated for money laundering, even with Colombian drug dealers.

4) In 1974 the real estate firm Immobiliare San Martino is founded and managed by
Marcello Dell'Utri. The capital comes from two investment firms associated with the
BNL Bank: Servizio Italia (managed by P2 member Gianfranco Graziadei) and Saf
(Società Azionaria Finanziaria, represented by Frederick Pollack, a Czech front-man born no later than1887)
Under various names and with various systems and various front-people, a myriad of companies are propagated linked to Berlusconi and those close to him, beginning with the 34 Holding Italiana firms that control the Fininvest group. Banca d'Italia manager Francesco Giuffrida and Treasury Police Official
Giuseppe Ciuro were technical consultants for the Palermo Prosecutors' Office at the trail of Marcello Dell'Utri for acting as an outside accessory to Mafia activity. They state that the firms received at least 113 billion lire between 1978 and 1985 (the equivalent of today's 502 billion lire or ¤ 250 million), part of which came in cash and in "masked" checks, which are still "are of unknown origin." Palermo prosecutors maintain that this is Mafia capital "invested" in the firms by cells linked with Mafia big, Stefano Bontate. Defense lawyers counter that this money was from self financing although they do not explain where all that liquidity came from.
Berlusconi's own technical consultant, Professor Paolo Jovenitti, admits the "irregularity" and incomprehensibility of several operations of those years.

5) In 1973 Silvio Berlusconi purchased the eighteenth-century Villa San Martino in
Arcore along with its master artists' paintings, a one-million -square-meter park tennis courts, horse runs, stables, two pools, and hundreds of acres of land.
The former owner was Annamaria Casati Stampa di Soncino, the minor-aged heiress of the noted Lombard noble family who was left an orphan in 1970. The girl was being guided by a court-appointed guardian, the lawyer Cesare Previti. Preveti was a friend of Berlusconi, the son of one of his front-men company heads (his father Umberto), and a manager of a company in Berlusconi's group ((Immobiliare Idra). Thanks to this lucky coincidence, the fabulous villa and everything connected with it was bought for about 500 million lire - a ridiculous price. What is more, it was paid not in cold cash but in shares in several real estate companies that were not listed in the stock market.
The result was that when the girl moved to Brazil and tried to cash in the shares, she found herself with a barrel full of paper. At that point Previti and Berlusconi offered to back the shares, but at half the price that was initially stipulated. A verdict of the
Tribunal of Rome in 2000 acquitted the authors of the book Gli affari del presidente
[The dealings of the president] who had recounted this embarrassing transaction.

6) In 1973 Berlusconi hired Vittorio Mangano on the recommendation of Marcello
Dell'Utri as overseer (or, "administrator of the villa," as Dell'Utri recently put it).
Mangano was a known Palermo criminal with a long record of arrests and convictions.
Just two years later he was to leave the villa when he was suspected of having set up the kidnapping of Luigi d'Angerio principe di Sant'Agata. D'Angerio was kidnapped immediately after had had eaten dinner with Berlusconi , Dell'Utri, and Mangano himself and had left the villa at Arcore. Mangano was even to be convicted for drug trafficking (at a mass trail prosecuted by Falcone and Borsellino) and sentenced to life in prison for murder and Mafia activities.

7) On January 26, 1978, Silvio Berlusconi joined the lodge Propaganda 2 (P2), having been introduced to the "great master" Venerable Licio Gelli by journalist friend
Roberto Gervaso. He paid his membership fee of 100,000 lire and was registered with membership card 1816 (codice E.19.78, gruppo 17, fascicolo 0625). His membership began to yield all kinds of advantages: financing from Graziadei's Servizio Italia, easy and unjustified credit from the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank (managed by P2 member Giovanni Cresti), an occasional column in the Corriere della Sera. This newspaper was edited by P2 member Franco Di Bella and controlled by the Rizzoli publishers, who included P2 members Angelo Rizzoli, Bruno Tassan Din and
Umberto Ortolani.

8) On October 24, 1979, Silvio Berlusconi received three Treasury Police officers at
Edilnord Cantieri Residenziali headquarters. He presented himself as "as simple external consultant" for "the planning of Milano 2". In reality, he was the single owner of the company, which was listed under the name of Umberto Previti. However, the Treasury officers fall for the line and end the inspection very quickly even though they had come across more than one irregularity in the relations with the mysterious Swiss partners. All three officers were to make careers for themselves. They are named Massimo Maria Berruti, Salvatore Gallo and Alberto Corrado. Berruti, the leader of the patrol, was to leave the Treasury Police a few months later in order to go to work for Fininvest as a commercial lawyer (for foreign affairs, contacts with Milan football players, and so on). He was arrested in 1985 in the Icomec scandal and then acquitted.
He was to return to prison in 1994 together with Corrado for attempting to obstruct an investigation into bribery in the Treasury Police. He was later to be elected as a representative in Parliament with the Forza Italia party. He was convicted in a first trial and on appeal to 8 months in prison for abating illegal activity. Gallo turned out to be a P2 member.

9) On May 30, 1983, the Milan Treasury Police, who were tapping Berlusconi's telephones in connection with an investigation on drug trafficking, drafted an investigative report that states: "It has been pointed out that the well-known Silvio
Berlusconi may be financing intense narcotics traffic from Sicily into France and other Italian regions (Lombardy and Lazio). He may be at the center of great speculative activity on the Costa Smeralda [Sardinian coast], using friendly firms headquartered in Vaduz and elsewhere abroad. Operationally, the firms in question can be said to have given a broad mandate to the professional people in the area." For eight years the investigation languished, practically forgotten. At first, it was conducted by prosecutor Giorgio Della Lucia . It then passed into the hands of the public investigative office [Ufficio istruzione], which was for years charged with bribery in judicial affairs along with financier Filippo Alberto Rapisarda, former employer and partner of Marcello Dell'Utri. Finally, Milan Judge Anna Cappelli was to close the investigation in 1991.

10) The third close encounter of the troublesome kind between Berlusconi and the law dates back to October 16, 1984, when three judges - from Turin, Rome, and Pescara - had the nerve to enforce the rules that regulated television broadcasting. Berlusconi had decided to bend the rules when he broadcast the same programs simultaneously nationwide.
The three judges pointed out that this was prohibited, that it could not be done. They blocked off the equipment used to broadcast illegally. Berlusconi blacked out his television networks and blamed it on the judges. He then whipped up a TV-addicted population with the slogan Vietato vietare [Forbidden to forbid], launched opportunely from the show of ex-P2 member Maurizio Costanzo. The slogan was immediately changed into a law by his accommodating prime minister and best man,
Bettino Craxi. Craxi abandoned a state visit to London to race back to Italy to issue an executive order ad personam (the "Berlusconi decree"). This was to re-start his friend's illegal broadcasts. There was such a huge scandal that even some people in the Pentapartito [the five-party coalition] did not want to stand for it. The executive order was thought to be unconstitutional and was voted down in Parliament. Then, two of the three judges re-ordered the criminal confiscation of all equipment used for broadcasts that were not local. In consequence, Craxi hatched a second Berlusconi decree, flaunting the bogeyman of a governmental crisis and early elections before his rebellious allies. It was the CAF itself [the Craxi-Andreotti-Forlani alliance] that was to legalize the illegal Fininvest monopoly over commercial television through the
Mammì Law, nicknamed the "Polaroid-Law" for the clear focus of its snapshot of the status quo.


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