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Giovanni Toti: the investigation, the reasons for the arrest and why he should resign

This article on Giovanni Toti is published in issue 22-23 of Vanity Fair on newsstands until 4 June 2024.

TTake a pebble and an avalanche falls. Long before in Liguria, it had already happened in the ancient and praiseworthy Milanese Tangentopoli, year 1992, when a recently divorced lady presented herself to the young magistrate Antonio Di Pietro to denounce her ex-husband who only gave her a million lire a month in alimony, while he earned much more illegally. «As in black?», asked Di Pietro. And the lady: “I'll tell you if you want.” “Of course,” said the prosecutor, “what's your ex-husband's name?” A quick smile flashed on the lady's face: “His name is Mario Chiesa.”

And so it was. The change from the first bribe came out, the one for the cleaning of the Pio Albergo Trivulzio, 14 million lire. After a couple of years, 5 thousand arrests were made in the investigation and 150 billion lire in the huge Enimont bribe, which would have reduced to dust all five parties involved, those who had built the labyrinths of political power in the entire First Republic which came down like houses of cards do. And the avalanches.

In the Ligurian investigation the first piece is truly a pebble, the tiny island of Palmaria which floats in front of the paradise of Porto Venere, in the blue sea of ​​the Cinque Terre, less than 2 square kilometers of rocks, myrtle and brooms, which Giovanni Toti, the president of the Liguria Region, a major target of the investigation, wanted to transform «into our little Capri”.

The island of Palmaria, opposite Porto Venere (La Spezia), was to host a luxury resort. After the arrest of governor Giovanni Toti, the work stopped.

Irina Belchikova

We are in 2021, two Milanese real estate developers propose to build a resort on the island: private beach and two swimming pools, luxury concrete for luxury customers, which should invade the island, declared a natural park and UNESCO heritage site since 1997. Legambiente yes opposes, reports irregularities in the contract. The Financial Police investigates. He discovers that the mayor of Forza Italia Matteo Cozzani – future right-hand man of Giovanni Toti – receives small and large attentions from the two builders: stadium tickets, trips to Monte Carlo, casinos etc. They write of «a continuous subjugation of the mayor's public functions to private interests, with acts contrary to his official duties».

Pebble after pebble, the investigation moves from La Spezia to Genoa. The favors become money for the parties for electoral deadlines. Real estate interests appear infinitely larger than the resort and even the island of Palmaria: bribes, deals, jobs in exchange for votes, escorts and yachts sailing in and out of the immense port of Genoa with its 2.7 million containers a year, the assignment of the terminals, the construction of the new Diga Foranea, the expected expenditure is 1.3 billion euros, to be drawn from the Pnrr coffers.

Malpractice emerges when it wears the guise of bad politics and the most unscrupulous businessman. Whether they are criminal offenses will be decided by the trials in the long term. In the short term, the venom of the behavior is enough to demand the resignation of all those involved. To let some clean air into the Ligurian shores, after the toxic dust from the avalanche.

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Source: Vanity Fair

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