San Marino: The ‘land of freedom’ turns into Mafia’s land
Until one year ago, if you imagined the Republic of San Marino you would think about a quiet place, with good standards of life and safety. But now things have changed. In the last months the microstate located in the middle of Italy, on the Adriatic coast, has seen the mafia’s presence coming out with the investigation of Italian investigators. Now chronicles talk about millions and millions of euros passing through San Marino’s banks and financial institutes to be ‘laundered’ by the mafia, and about San Marino citizens arrested for their implication with criminal organizations. And not ordinary people: but lawyers, bank owners and important businessmen. If you go to visit San Marino, crossing the border you will read «Welcome to the land of freedom». But if you stop and buy a newspaper you will discover that you’re in a mafia’s land. «I love that country», screams camorra’s boss Raffaele Stolder in a phone tapping. Why? Because in San Marino, especially with the old banking legislation, to clean mafia’s money was very easy.
Actually the work of the Italian investigators, sometimes helped by San Marino’s judges, seems to be only at the beginning. But let’s go in order: last July Credito San Marino bank owner Lucio Amati was arrested in Italy with the accuse of recycling. Before him, the ex director of the institute, Walter Vendemini, finished in jail for the same circumstance. The investigators said that drug dealer Vincenzo Barbieri, killed in march 2011, put his money in the bank with their assent. The problem was that the money doesn’t only smell of drugs, but also of criminal organizations.
Two months later lawyer Livio Bacciocchi was also accused of recycling. For the investigators , the camorra’s money was laundered passing through a financial institute near him: Fincapital. Bacciocchi spent eight months in jail between Rimini and Naples, answering the investigator’s questions. And when the Italian court decided to leave him free, last Friday, he was immediately arrested by the San Marino authorities, a few hours after his return home, where his family lives. San Marino’s police also put in jail one of his past collaborators: Roberto Zavoli. Oriano Zonzini, president of Fincapital when the money passed through the financial institute, is at house arrest.
In April Bacciocchi’s actual lawyer was condemned in first grade for the falsification of a police document that gave an alibi to a member of the criminal group called Banda della Magliana, that had robbed a bank in Rome in 1999.
In January businessman Marco Bianchini, at the head of one of the largest commercial firms of the country, was arrested for being implicated in a story of extortions and corruption with the participation of people connected with the mafia. In this circumstance the ex commander in chief of the republic’s police, Achille Zechini, was also implicated. The investigators said that he communicated some confidential information to people involved in the extortions. Now the San Marino investigators are investigating about him.
From January to April 2012, Caponnetto’s foundation, an Italian mafia observatory, counts 18 facts connecting national and international criminal organizations to San Marino. The cases that involved Amati, Bacciocchi and Bianchini still have go on trial, but the number and the identity of people finished in jail in the last year is enough to put San Marino in trouble.
The government approved in a hurry some laws that introduce mafia’s crimes and is working to create an office that will start with phone tapping. But politicians have also to justify what Naples investigators called ‘pactum sceleris’ (a wicked pact) between politics and people involved in these judiciary cases. The parliament created an investigative commission to check out this hypothesis, but this move doesn’t persuade the majority of the public opinion: will politicians investigate about their own activities?
Jeffrey Zani CNN – IReport
Guarda tu la coincidenza, quando ci sono soldi, quando c’è la mafia, San Marino c’è quasi sempre.
- Republic of San Marino – Pic of the Week (blogs.loc.gov)
- San Marino Hatching Plan to Legalize Yard Chickens (laist.com)