From Grillo to his father-in-law Paladino, from Arcuri to Appendino: having left Meloni, he goes on the counterattack with an internal document. The reaction: “Ridiculous”
Prodded by Giuseppe Conte on the “moral question”, Fratelli d’Italia does not agree and goes on the counterattack. In an internal dossier intended for deputies and senators – and which Adnkronos has seen – Giorgia Meloni’s party reviews “all the suspects about whom Conte said nothing”, accusing the leader of the M5S of having made the loud with the centre-right exponents affected by investigations but for not having shown the same firmness with his party colleagues or with people close to him.
From Chiara Appendino to Virginia Raggi; from Beppe Grillo to the former CEO of Invitalia Domenico Arcuri; passing through the deputy Riccardo Tucci, the lawyer Luca Di Donna and Cesare Paladino, father of Olivia, companion of the five-star president: these are the cases cited by Fratelli d’Italia in the “information note” which is currently circulating in the chats of Via of the Sow. The 6-page document by Fdi refers to the open letter published on 11 December 2023 in Repubblica by Conte, who “attacked Giorgia Meloni for the judicial investigations involving some members of the executive, speaking of a ‘moral question'”, yes reads in the dossier.
In his speech the former prime minister spoke about judicial problems of the undersecretary of Justice Andrea Delmastro and of Minister of Tourism Daniela Santanchèthen citing the journalistic investigations into the Undersecretary of Culture Vittorio Sgarbi and on the one at Work, Claudio Durigon. Among the cases highlighted by Conte also the story of the train from which he asked the Minister of Agriculture Francesco Lollobrigida to get off and the Report investigation into the Forza Italia group leader in the Senate Maurizio Gasparri. “In his political career – he attacks the Prime Minister’s party – the five-star leader has not used the same hard fist when he found himself faced with suspects from his party, or when he himself found himself under investigation”.
Conte “should have asserted the “moral question” first and foremost for himself”, the Fdi stings, citing the notice of investigation received from the M5S leader in 2020 for complaints about the management of the Covid emergency and the investigation for manslaughter and epidemic negligent in 2023 “for the management of the first phases of the pandemic”: an affair which, as Fratelli d’Italia recalls, ended in June 2023 with a dismissal for the ‘people’s lawyer’.
The list of Brothers of Italy
Also in Fdi’s sights is Chiara Appendino, former mayor of Turin and current 5 Star MP and vice-president “accused of manslaughter, injuries and negligent disaster for the events in Piazza San Carlo in Turin” and “sentenced on 27 January 2021 in first instance to a year and six months”. The sentence, we read in the dossier, “is confirmed in June 2023 by the Court of Assizes of Appeal. A judgment for which an appeal to the Supreme Court has been announced”.
The Fdi list continues with the former mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi: “Investigated for abuse of office in relation to the investigation into the Roma stadium, in 2019 the investigating judge rejected the request for dismissal. Giuseppe Conte not only does not ask for the resignation, but in 2021 he offers her his total support during the electoral campaign for Rome”. Raggi, Fdi points out, “will subsequently be investigated by the Rome Public Prosecutor’s Office in 2022 for perjury, in relation to her testimony at the trial on the Roma stadium. In October 2023 the investigating judge Anna Maria Gavoni requested compulsory indictment for Raggi with the accusation of slander and false information given to prosecutors for the Ama 2017 budget”. Fdi also places the spotlight on the M5S guarantor Grillo, “investigated in 2022 for trafficking in illicit influence on the then 5 Star Ministers of Transport, Danilo Toninelli, and of Economic Development, Stefano Patuanelli, in favor of Moby Lines”.
The Fratelli d’Italia document then cites the case of the Calabrian deputy Riccardo Tucci, “indicted on charges of fraud as part of an investigation which in January 2021 had already led to the preventive seizure of assets worth over 800 thousand euros “: “Despite the seriousness of the accusations – reports Fdi – Conte chose to nominate him for his second mandate anyway”. Then it is the turn of the former extraordinary commissioner for the Covid emergency Domenico Arcuri, registered in October 2021 by the Rome Prosecutor’s Office “in the register of those under investigation for embezzlement and abuse of office” on the charge “of having diverted approximately 1, 25 billion euros to deal with the Covid emergency towards the purchase of masks and personal protective equipment considered partly ‘not up to standard'”. The investigation – recalls Fdi – “closed in March 2022 with Arcuri remaining under investigation only for abuse of office. The Rome Prosecutor’s Office then requested that he be sent to trial”.
The last two cases cited by Fdi are those of the lawyer Luca Di Donna, former partner of Conte “investigated by the Rome Prosecutor’s Office for trafficking in illicit influence” and of Cesare Paladino – father-in-law of the former Prime Minister – who, again writes Fdi “benefited” from the rule contained in the Relaunch Decree “approved” by the second Conte government “to sanction administratively and no longer criminally some offenses committed in the hotel sector”. At the end of the document Fratelli d’Italia claims to be a “guarantee party” but “does not accept ‘moral’ lessons from those who, like Giuseppe Conte and the 5 Star Movement, instead use a convenient alternating current justicialist approach”: “In short – we read in the conclusion of the internal dossier – if we wanted to use the same logic as Conte we should say that before talking about the ‘moral question’ in the eyes of others, the former prime minister would do better to look at the ‘beam’ he has at home ‘ her”.
Moral question? For FdI it is “unexplored terrain”. An “urgency” raised by Giuseppe Conte with a letter to the newspaper ‘La Repubblica’, which “President Meloni has so far preferred to ignore, appearing completely indifferent”, if not for “a ridiculous ‘dossier“‘ intended for its exponents who appear on television talk shows”. This is the reply of the M5S to Adnkronos, to the Fdi dossier. “At the beginning of last December, President Giuseppe Conte raised, in a letter to the newspaper La Repubblica, the urgency of the ‘moral question’, inviting President Meloni to take a position on the various cases involving representatives of his Government, responsible for the violation of the constitutional principle referred to in the art. 54, which imposes on those in charge of a public function the duty to fulfill it with ‘discipline and honour’. The letter – they recall from the M5S – urged a broad reflection, aimed at going beyond political controversies and aimed at pursuing the higher objective of preserving citizens’ trust in the political class and safeguarding the prestige of the institutions”.
“Unfortunately – underlines the M5S – President Meloni has so far preferred to ignore this issue, showing himself to be completely indifferent to it and giving priority to party and coalition solidarity rather than national interest. The result is that the image of Italy is emerging from this compromised on an international level, as evidenced by the numerous articles published in the most prestigious newspapers. On the other hand, today we learn that his party, Brothers of Italy, has taken this month and a half to create a ridiculous ‘dossier’, intended for its exponents who appear on television talk shows and who have so far not been able to respond to the various cases: Sgarbi, Delmastro, Santanchè, Lollobrigida, Pozzolo and, lastly, Bignami”.
“Conte transparent, Meloni escapes responsibility”
The dossier in question, continues the M5S “demonstrates, however, that the Brothers of Italy, as regards the moral question, are moving on unexplored terrain: they extend it, in fact, also to private individuals who carry out professional or entrepreneurial activities, which do not only they have never had a public office, but they are also totally extraneous to the M5S and politics. As for the other cases, President Conte has already replied, in a direct and transparent way, so we can only refer to the timely answers offered on the occasion of multiple television interviews and in the press. And this, evidently, marks the difference with Giorgia Meloni, who instead continues to escape her responsibilities and, now, hides behind fake dossiers”.
“We specify, more specifically, that, as regards members of the M5S, they are all obliged to respect the rigorous rules contained in our code of ethics. Not only that. When they are involved, in any capacity, by investigations by the judiciary they are required to lend their full collaboration, without interposing obstacles of any kind. This also applies to the President of the Movement, who when he was involved in the investigation carried out by the Bergamo Prosecutor’s Office, presented himself in Court providing all the clarifications of the case, leaving with his head held high, with full formula”.
“We do not invoke parliamentary immunity or statute of limitations”
“In fact, we are really ‘strange’. And we understand the difficulty of understanding our actions on the part of the Brothers of Italy – continues the M5S – Our parliamentarians never invoke parliamentary immunity to defend themselves from the trial. They do not avail themselves of the prescription, which aims to escape the judgment of merit. What’s more. If one of our members, even an authoritative one, is subjected to investigations by the judiciary, we don’t dream at all of intervening on a legislative level with favorable rules, as they usually do other parties”.
“We are so ‘strange’ that not only have we not intervened to lend ‘legislative aid’ to our Guarantor Beppe Grillo – merely under investigation ‘for trafficking in influence’ -, but now that the majority forces, with the help of members of opposition, they are weakening the crime of ‘influence trafficking’, we are waging a battle to keep it intact, so we have already voted against these changes in the Senate and we will vote against it convincingly in the Chamber as well”, concludes the M5s.