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Corrupt power swap emerges from Fonsai insurance probe

Ligresti allegedly contacted Berlusconi in deal w/top watchdog

13 November, 17:28
Corrupt power swap emerges from Fonsai insurance probe (ANSA) - Milan, November 13 - Former insurance magnate Salvatore Ligresti allegedly contacted ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, while he was in office, as part of a corrupt swap to obtain lax oversight by Italy’s insurance watchdog, a Milan-based probe revealed on Wednesday. Ligresti allegedly reached out to Berlusconi seeking the appointment of Giancarlo Giannini as chairman of the Antitrust Authority, according to the written conclusion of the investigation into alleged accounting fraud at the Fonsai insurance group.

Giannini at the time was the head of Italy’s insurance regulator ISVAP - now known as IVASS - and the appointment to the antitrust authority was to take place at the end of Giannini’s mandate as ISVAP chief.

Prosecutor Luigi Orsi claimed that Giannini, in exchange, saw to it that the insurance regulator was “inefficient and slow” in its oversight of Fonsai in exchange for Ligresti’s promise. Giannini and Ligresti are both accused of corruption in the probe into alleged accounting fraud and market manipulation at the troubled Italian insurance group.

No information indicating legal trouble for Berlusconi has been revealed in the case. A trial date has been set for December for Ligresti and four other suspects, including Fonsai manager Emanuele Erbetta and Ligresti’s daughters, Jonella and Giulia. The group are accused of involvement in accounting irregularities that enabled Ligresti, according to the indictment, to acquire illegal dividends of 200 million euros.

The Ligresti family are the former majority owners of the Fonsai and Milano Assicurazioni insurance companies.