Silvio Berlusconi – ironically nicknamed “The Teflon Don” – has been found to have done business with the Sicilian Mafia for nearly two decades, according to Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome. Having attacked the “biased judges” who called his actions “a continuous crime,” Berlusconi wriggled out from under this result since the link to the Cosa Nostra was, as The Independent reports, via his conduit and former senator Marcello Dell’Utri who was sentenced to 7 years for mafia association. While this confirms as fact yet another conspiracy theory, the bigger story was the confirmation of a broad-based bloodless coup to ouster the Italian Prime Minister at the peak of the credit crisis. “At one point that fall, a few European officials approached us with a scheme to try to force Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi out of power,” Tim Geithner writes in his new book, and after telling the President about “this surprising invitation,” they decided not to get involved (publicly): “We can’t have his blood on our hands.”
Conpsiracy “Fact” #1: Berlusconi linked to the Mafia
Silvio Berlusconi – Italy’s former Prime Minister and one of the world’s most recognisable politicians – did business with the mafia for nearly two decades.
That is the conclusion of the country’s Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome. The billionaire tycoon, nicknamed the Teflon Don, worked with Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia, via his conduit and former senator Marcello Dell’Utri after judges sentenced Dell’Utri to seven years for mafia association.
Three-time premier Berlusconi, 77, has always denied rumours that mob links were behind the large and opaquely sourced investments used to kickstart his construction and media businesses in the 1970s and 1980s.
But Supreme Court judges accepted prosecutor Aurelio Galasso’s claim that “for 18 years, from 1974 to 1992, Marcello Dell’Utri was the guarantor of the agreement between Berlusconi and Cosa Nostra”. The verdict confirms the sentence imposed on 72-year-old Dell’Utri by Palermo’s Court of Appeal in March last year.
“In that period of time we’re talking about a continuous crime,” said Mr Galasso. He said the deal between the mafia and Berlusconi, mediated by Dell’Utri, was formed in 1974 and “was implemented voluntarily and knowingly”.
Around 40 former mafia members have given evidence that the Palermo-born politician and businessman was Berlusconi’s key emissary with Cosa Nostra. One high-profile informant, Giovanni “The Pig” Brusca, told judges in Palermo in 2010 that Berlusconi poured as much as 600 million old lire a year (£300,000) into Cosa Nostra’s coffers, which was “tied to his business activities in Sicily”.
Now, following his conviction, Italian authorities will seek Dell’Utri’s extradition from Lebanon, where he fled last month before the Supreme Court ruled on his fate.
It was reported that Dell’Utri had been making use of his time abroad to arrange business deals involving the investment of millions of euros of Berlusconi’s money.
Conspiracy “Fact” #2: Berlusconi ousted by European
As we explained in great detail before…
The chart below is very familiar to anyone who was observing the hourly turmoil in the European bond market in November of 2011, when Italian bonds crashed, when yields soared to record levels, and every downtick of the Euro could have been its last.
What the chart may not show are the dramatic transformations in Italy’s government that took place just as the Italian bond spread exploded, which saw the resignation of career-politician Sylvio Berlusconi literally days after yields soared, and the instatement of Goldman technocrat Mario Monti as Italy’s next Prime Minister.
And now confirmed by none other than Tim Geithner (via Reuters):
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi repeated accusations on Wednesday that he had been forced out of office at the height of the euro zone crisis in 2011 as the result of a plot by European Union officials.
Berlusconi’s comments followed the publication of a book by former U.S. treasury secretary Timothy Geithner which suggested that the U.S. government had been asked to help force Berlusconi to resign as the crisis escalated in late 2011.
“At one point that fall, a few European officials approached us with a scheme to try to force Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi out of power; they wanted us to refuse to support IMF loans to Italy until he was gone,” Geithner wrote in his book, “Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises”, extracts from which appeared in the Italian press this week.
“We told the President about this surprising invitation, but as helpful as it would have been to have better leadership in Europe, we couldn’t get involved in a scheme like that,” he wrote. “‘We can’t have his blood on our hands,’ I said.”
Napolitano issued a statement on Wednesday saying he was unaware of any pressure exerted on Berlusconi, who resigned after a split in the center-right camp left him without a reliable parliamentary majority.
He said Berlusconi’s resignation had been offered “freely and responsibly” and that it had been caused solely by “Italian political and parliamentary events”.
Most ironic, however, is that the only person who seemed to care about the trampling of the constitution was… a former comedian.
Whatever one thinks of Mr Berlusconi, serious constitutional questions are raised by the behind-the-scenes manoeuvring that resulted in the appointment of his successor. Perhaps the loudest voice to raise these questions is that of Beppe Grillo, the comedian-turned-politician who garnered 25 per cent of the national vote last year.
Mr Napolitano, an 89-year-old former communist, has reacted with anger at Mr Grillo’s incessant accusations of the subversion of democracy. Mr Grillo has frequently called for Mr Napolitano’s impeachment.
So – in summary – yet more conspiracy theories become fact and for Europe it is now extremely clear that as everyone knows by know, the 99% is the last thing on the mind of the global ruling class.
Because it sure looks like the Italian elites have no fucking clue how to run an economy…