Montante case, the former mayor Campisi: “Hellish life with anti-mafia champions”

The former mayor of Caltanissetta testifies in the maxi trial, the entrepreneur does not waive the prescription

(from the correspondent Elvira Terranova) – With a calm but firm voice, the former mayor of Caltanissetta Michele Campisi repeats several times that between 2009 and 2014 he lived a “hellish life”, after announcing his intention to create an anti-racket association in Caltanissetta. During his deposition at the ‘maxi trial’ which sees the former president of the Sicilian industrialists Antonello Montante in the dock, accused of criminal association aimed at corruption and abusive access to the computer system, the former mayor recalled the period in which he found himself ” in complete solitude” against “the anti-mafia champions” who were “praised by the magistrates”. And he remembers, in particular, an anecdote, when he wanted to create an anti-racket association named after the judge Rosario Livatino, killed by the mafia. “About twenty entrepreneurs had given their support and I had announced that the Municipality would form a civil party in all the mafia trials”, explains Campisi.

“At the exit of the pontifical, the then commissioner Marino told me that I should have postponed the start of the association because they hadn’t managed to control a person – says the former mayor – I removed this gentleman and we set up the Rosario Livatino association with the authorization of the family. Only one was from Caltanissetta, the other people between San Cataldo and Niscemi. From that moment I had two months of hellish life. I was summoned to the prefecture and a meeting was held and even Tano Grasso came, there were many journalists. Alfonso Cicero was there, I don’t remember if Montante was there too, he probably was, and then Marco Venturi (now one of Montante’s greatest accusers, ed.) and Ivan Lo Bello. I was blacklisted on that occasion because – it was not clear why – I could not set up that association. I was summoned by the prefect Petrucci. The prefect told me, after we were alone, ‘You are an honest person, go ahead’. In that meeting it emerged that an association had been set up against racketeering in Caltanissetta but there was only one associate and this gentleman was present at the meeting it would seem, but I have not seen any, which had been set up before. I said there could be even a thousand.”

‘The magistrates said he was an example to follow’

Then the former mayor of Caltanissetta adds: “I remember that at each inauguration of the judicial year, five times in a row, when I was mayor, it was always said that we had to follow the path of legality that those of Confindustria were tracing. If I were been next to them, perhaps it would have gone differently. That was the tailwind at that moment…”. And again: “There was not a passage in which the prosecutors did not exalt the ‘anti-mafia champions’. I wanted strong support from the judiciary, but I found myself increasingly alone”. “There was talk of an important political force which was made up of the group of ‘legalists’, which consisted of Montante, Venturi and Romano (the entrepreneur ed)”.

Also today, an inspector of the Guardia di Finanza of Caltanissetta, Vincenzo Daniele, was heard as a witness, who in 2009, after a report, had started investigations into suspicious transactions concerning the entrepreneur Pasquale Giorgio, a friend of the entrepreneur Antonello Montante . In particular, the yellow flames suspected the businessman’s money laundering operations with Venezuela. But after a few months, Major Ettore Orfanello, who led the yellow flames, asked for news of the investigation, making it clear to his subordinates that that investigation “should be archived”. Orfanello is among the defendants in the trial. ”Some time the start of the investigations – says the inspector of the Gdf interrogated by the prosecutor Maurizio Bonaccorso – Major Orfanello asked me how the investigation was going and I replied that from the bank investigations we were ascertaining the suspicious transactions, of money laundering. He told me that we needed the predicate offense and I replied that we would find it, but he made me understand with a whole speech that he would like to close the file and after three days I was transferred to the Caltanissetta company and I never heard from again”.

“After a few months I saw a parcel on the command office desk and then I understood that the parcel which concerned the investigation into Giorgio was going to the archive”, continued the financier, prompted by questions from prosecutor Bonaccorso.

The former president of the industrialists does not renounce the prescription

At the opening of the hearing, the President Francesco D’Arrigo was informed that the former president of the Sicilian industrialists Antonello Montante is not renouncing the limitation period, which was triggered in recent weeks for a crime. This was announced in the courtroom, at the beginning of the hearing, by his lawyer, the lawyer Giuseppe Panepinto. Instead, another defendant, Letterio Romeo, an officer of the Carabinieri, through his lawyer, the lawyer Giuseppe Dacquì, is the only defendant to waive the prescription in the context of the so-called ‘magic circle’ trial of Montante . That even today, on his sixtieth birthday, he is absent.

In the last hearing it was the President of the Court, Francesco D’Arrigo who spoke of the statute of limitations on some crimes and asked the defendants’ lawyers and the civil parties to carry out the necessary checks. For Montante, the statute of limitations had taken over for charge H, i.e. the fraud in competition, together with the former regional councilor for Industry Linda Vancheri and with the entrepreneur Carmelo Turco. The statute of limitations also concerns the defendant Salvatore Calì for item J, i.e. for aiding and abetting, but also Carlo La Rotonda and Calì himself for item L, i.e. simulating a crime. Furthermore, the head M is also prescribed for Letterio Romeo, i.e. the forgery.

In the ‘procession’ of Caltanissetta, which is celebrated in the bunker hall of the Malaspina prison, in addition to the former anti-mafia champion Antonello Montante, former president of Confindustria Sicilia, the former president of the Region Rosario Crocetta, the former councilors Linda Vancheri and Mariella Lo Bello, the former Irsap commissioner Maria Grazia Brandara, the entrepreneurs Giuseppe Catanzaro, Rosario Amarù and Carmelo Turco, Vincenzo Savastano assistant commissioner at the time of the events of the Police at the Fiumicino border office, Gaetano Scillia Dia center manager in Caltanissetta from 2010 to 2014, Arturo De Felice, director of Dia from 2012 to 2014, Giuseppe D’Agata, colonel of the carabinieri, and Diego Di Simone Perricone, former head of security. Also in the dock is the former President of the Senate Renato Schifani, today accused of external competition in simple criminal association and disclosure of confidential information.

Also on trial are the former director of Aisi Arturo Esposito, the head of the Aisi Andrea Cavacece, the ”king of supermarkets” Massimo Romano, the tax expert Massimo Cuva, the colonel of the carabinieri Giuseppe D’Agata, the trade unionist Maurizio Bernava , the entrepreneurs of the security sector Andrea and Salvatore Calì, Rosetta Cangialosi, Carmela Giardina and Vincenzo Mistretta (three employees of Montante), the policeman Salvatore Graceffa; the director of Confindustria Carlo La Rotonda; the major of the Guardia di Finanza Ettore Orfanello; the lieutenant Mario Sanfilippo and the colonel of the carabinieri Letterio Romeo.

The former champion of the anti-mafia Antonello Montante, according to the investigators, would have set up a real ‘system’ of power, conceived and implemented “thanks to a ramified network of relationships and complicity interwoven with various characters inserted at the top of the various sectors of the institutions”. Furthermore, he would have been at the center of a dossier activity carried out, also thanks to excellent complicity, through access to the database of the police forces and aimed at blackmailing “enemies”, influencing political and administrative activities and acquiring information on investigations in his load. The trial was postponed until next Monday, June 12, to hear other prosecution witnesses.