The Consip investigation may have been “interfered with” more than was previously thought, leading state prosecutor Mario Palazzi to request a “re-reading” of the trial documents, but above to ask carabinieri from the provincial HQ in Rome to listen again to all the recordings of wiretapped conversations in the office of the businessman Alfredo Romeo.
This is a clear sign of distrust in the investigations conducted by the captain of the Carabinieri’s Ecology Operations Unit (NOE), Gianpaolo Scafarto, who is accused of official misconduct for having tampered with at least two items of evidence. Firstly, he is thought to have “altered” the wiretapped conversation incriminating Tiziano Renzi, father of former Prime Minister Matteo, and also to have confirmed the possibility that secret services were “spying on” the investigation. This was enough to spark off renewed conflict with colleagues from the Naples state prosecutor’s office, who instead “reiterated their complete confidence in the work of the NOE and confirmed they would be assigned” the line of enquiry involving Romeo in Campania.
There are many unanswered questions regarding Scafarto’s behaviour, and they are the starting point for understanding what has really happened over recent months. It all began in December, with sensational developments following checks made by state prosecutor Henry John Woodcock, and when Consip CEO Luigi Marroni was interviewed and confirmed that “pressure” had been brought to bear on Tiziano Renzi to influence public tenders. Immediately afterwards the case was transferred to Rome, which had jurisdiction over the matter. The suspicion is that Scafarto wanted to “beef up” the evidence due to his fear that Roman magistrates might not believe the involvement of the former PM’s father to be well-grounded. Allegedly, he thus decided to attribute the phrase “the last time I met Renzi” to Romeo (it was actually pronounced by his assistant Italo Bocchino, as is clear from the rough draft) to corroborate the existence of the relationship between the two and support the corruption charges levelled at Renzi and the fixer Carlo Russo, a long-standing acquaintance of Romeo. If the investigation was indeed side-tracked, investigators consider it likely that Scafarto did not act alone. Consequently, his contacts in recent months will be subjected to scrutiny, as will his relations with colleagues and superiors, not ruling out any possible external “interference”.
The situation is serious enough to revive the dispute between the two judicial offices which had painstakingly reached a cooperation agreement. After sending the case file, prosecutors from the two cities had interviewed suspects and witnesses together. After the arrest of Romeo and the decision of the prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone to take carabinieri from the NOE off the investigation, explicitly accusing them of having facilitated “leaks”, Neapolitan magistrates instead stated that they would continue to avail themselves of the NOE to investigate contracts obtained by Romeo in Campania. In recent weeks there has been an exchange of information, but yesterday, after Scafarto was called in for questioning, the message of “renewed esteem” appeared aimed at magistrates in Rome.
In this tense atmosphere, Palazzi’s decision – in agreement with prosecutor Paolo Ielo – is to resume activities relating to this line of inquiry only when they have finished going through the case documents. This is why he asked the carabinieri to press ahead with the greatest urgency. In addition to checking that the recordings correspond, they will have to transcribe a large number of tapes which have never been listened to, and especially ensure that all the wiretaps were carried out according to procedure. In particular, they will have to reconstruct the discovery of notes in the dustbin of Romeo Gestioni, when Scafarto had reported being “spied on” and followed by at least one intelligence agent, despite having already found out that theEsplora il significato del termine: suspected stalker was actually a person living in a neighbouring building. suspected stalker was actually a person living in a neighbouring building.
Corriere della Sera