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« For Philip Fitzgerald, un voyage extraordinaire | Main | China Corruption Blotter (February 5, 2014) »
Wednesday
Feb052014

Italian cleaning mogul arrested for corruption

An Italian businessman who built a $350 million empire on cleaning contracts and industrial maintenance was arrested in Spain on charges embezzlement, bankruptcy fraud, money laundering, and tax offenses.

Giovanni De Pierro controlled nearly 100 companies, 174 pieces of real estate, 32 vehicles, and two large yachts, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project said Monday.

Assets located in Italy were seized on January 31 by the Italian financial police, the Guardia di Finanza.

Italian prosecutor Giuseppe Cascini also issued orders to seize assets in London, Luxembourg, Belgium, Costa Rica, and the British Virgin Islands.

"According to prosecutors, De Pierro headed a criminal organization that obtained a large number of public contracts but evaded taxes for years, thanks to elaborate offshore registrations and transfers," the OCCRP said.

De Pierro has been living in Madrid, Spain. He's been tried in Italy for corruption more than once but has never been convicted, the report said.

"In 2002 he obtained a cleaning contract with the national railway company, Ferrovie dello Stato. Authorities filed charges against De Pierro after wiretapped conversations between De Pierro and railway company workers showed he may have used bribes to win the contract. However, the wiretaps were declared inadmissible in court and De Pierro was acquitted," according to the OCCRP.

A 2003 prosecution accused Pierro of creating false bids with the help of a public housing authority official. The case was dismissed on a technicality.

The story was reported by Giulio Rubino for the Investigative Reporting Project Italy.

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Richard L. Cassin is the Publisher and Editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.