They thought big, the men of the ‘Ndrangheta belonging to the clan of Luigi Mancuso. They aimed to build an empire in the distribution of diesel and gasoline such as to compete with giants such as Eni and Lukoil. Bringing a piece of the former Eastern Empire to Italy, the Rompetrol now belonging to a Kazakh group and building a pier with a buoy in the port of Vibo Valentia to allow the tankers to attack. A business worth hundreds of millions of euros, with brokers and white-collar workers who, aware that they are dealing with one of the most powerful Calabrian clans, acted as intermediaries with a manager from Kazakhstan. The public prosecutor of Catanzaro led by Nicola Gratteri has unveiled a series of meetings and big business projects highlighting the strong interests in fuel depots and their distribution by the ‘Ndrangheta: a sector that is already starting to apply to the Calabrian mafia almost as much today as that of drugs.
The start of the deal
This story of meetings and major projects, then suspended because they smelled the smell of burning from the East and because one of the intermediaries was arrested on suspicion of murder, begins at the end of 2018. When the Milanese brokers Francesco Mazzani, son of a well-known politician of the Christian Democrats right arm of the former minister Vittorino Colombo, and Francesco Porretta begin to work to bring together the owners of a Calabrian fuel storage company, the Dr Service of the brothers Giuseppe and Antonio D’Amico, with the manager of Rompetrol Arman Magzumov. Intercepted in Milan, Mazzani talks to Porretta about the imminent mission to Vibo Valentia and “informs the interlocutor of the successful outcome of the meeting he had with this Arman and added that there would also be the possibility of creating a” partnership in Italy “, adding that “They already have customers for this partnership in North Africa” and that Rompetrol had feared the possibility of “imprinting their brand in petrol stations” ».
To welcome the two intermediaries in Calabria there are first of all the D’Amico brothers, Giuseppe and Antonio, patron of Dr Service, a company that already manages fuel depots. Who are the two Calabrian brothers? On Giuseppe D’Amico the investigators write a long paragraph: “Entrepreneur of reference of the organization and formally affiliated (with the dowry of the” saint “), already in the past linked – for reasons of territorial and family origin – to the clan of” Piscopisani “And more recently a trusted man of the Mancuso clan of Limbadi and of Luigi Mancuso in particular (with whom he was in close and direct contact), owner of activities financed also with money from various’ ndranghetist factions (Piscopisani, Mancuso, Alvaro , Piromalli), inserted in a tested mafia control system of public and private works based on the imposition on the construction sites of compliant or contiguous companies. At the disposal of the organization and in excellent relations, as well as with the Mancusos, also with other branches of the ‘Ndrangheta, both Vibonese and the “Reggio” (Piromalli clan) ».
Giuseppe D’Amico knows the fuel sector well. Speaking with Luigi Mancuso’s niece, Silvana, and the intermediary Porretta, he boasted of transactions made in the past also with the family of the former undersecretary Nicola Cosentino: “D’Amico then, also listing all the opportunities deriving from the sale of of petroleum products, he reported to Porretta as for a period, taking advantage of the fact that gas supplies from Russia had been interrupted, he had managed to sell LPG to a company in Casal di Principe “which is the brother of Minister Cosentino (undersecretary , ed)… we have no problems because we know them ».
So petrol smuggling is back (and it’s a criminal business worth millions)
Mazzani, Porretta and D’Amico speak of possible investments in fuel depots on the Vibo Marina coast. The evening before the meeting with the Kazakhs, Porretta calls his companion Irina Paduret and tells her that “at the lunch scheduled for the following day in the presence of” Arman “,” the uncle “(Luigi Mancuso) would also have participated”: “So Porretta reported that he had learned from Mazzani that the Kazakhs could not formally appear in any commercial transaction, which is why Mazzani and Porretta themselves would have held – on behalf of the Kazakhs – the shares of the nascent company ».
The working lunch with Luigi Mancuso and the plans of the Kazakhs
The next day, January 18, 2019, Arman Magzumov and his wife arrive in Calabria and a business lunch is organized in a restaurant in Vibo Valentia. The clan leader himself, Luigi Mancuso, shows up at the appointment. That to the Kazakhs, before entering into the merits of the fuel deal, he also proposes other activities, such as the marketing of the Amaro del Capo produced by the “Distelleria Caffo” of Limbadi: “D’Amico and Luigi Mancuso returned to the topic as regards the marketing of the liqueur “Amaro del Capo” asserting that the owner “is a person close to us”, to the point that Mancuso himself proposed to go to the establishment to make it known to Kazakh guests: “[..] and you can also go with them … ”». Immediately afterwards Magzumov explains, according to the ordinance, “the strategy that Rompetrol would like to implement in Italy, similar to the projects implemented in our country by Lukoil … and that he planned to build a series of refueling stations in Italy that would represent the territory the distribution network under the Rimpetrol brand, based on the Lukoil model. For this need, Mazzani, translating Magzumov’s speech into English for the Calabrians, clarified that the guidelines for the creation of service stations according to the commercial criteria of the Romanian oil group were already ready ». But the Calabrians thought big and were ready to transform the port of Vibo Valentia into a hub for the oil trade in the Mediterranean, without touching Gioia Tauro under the protection of other ‘ndrine. While talking, Giuseppe D’Amico explained to Porretta “about the possibility of buying a land of 10 hectares (owned by a person from Catanzaro, ed.), To have a coastal fuel depot built there connected to a rotating buoy to be installed off the coast ( 1.5 km), where to allow large tonnage ships (from 25,000 tons upwards) to unload the product, channeled to the deposit via a submarine conduit. In consideration of this, D’Amico reported that he already had all the documentation certifying the feasibility of the project and that therefore could now be displayed to the Kazakh suppliers, given that a similar project, some time ago, had taken care of it on behalf of a possible Russian investor ».
Stop the operation
But then the deal gets stuck. Perhaps the Kazakhs smell something, so much so that Magzumov never lets his boss, the president of Rompetrol, arrive in Calabria. Formally for «the problem inherent in the company documentation of the DD Service which, among the sectors in which it operates, there is also that of transport as well as the construction one. The aforementioned situation could probably constitute an obstacle to the good progress of the negotiations with Rompetrol which instead, as we have seen, was looking for referenced companies with which to negotiate and thus groped the expansion of its petroleum products on the Italian market “, the investigators write. , who intercepting another dialogue between intermediaries, add: «The dialogue in question also made it possible to learn information that has not yet emerged regarding the non-participation of the president of the Rompetrol company in the negotiations that took place in Vibo Valentia the week before. In fact, as we have seen, the presence of the latter, initially foreseen, was then in fact skipped due to unspecified work commitments. Instead it was Antonio Prenesti (called “Mussustortu” and affiliated with the Mancuso clan, ed) who brought the D’amico to the attention of the fact that the president of Rompetrol, already present in Rome, had been warned not to go to Calabria by Mazgumov himself, and this evidently due to the fact that the latter had detected the criticalities relating to the company Dr Service ». But the deal also jumps because the collector between the Milanese brokers and the Mancusos, Antonio Prenesti, was arrested for murder and attempted murder ».
For the prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, the Kazakh affair demonstrates the power of the ‘Ndrangheta and its way of thinking big: “One thing about this investigation struck me – said Gratteri – the meeting that took place in Vibo in January 2019 Valentia in the Da Roberto tavern. Here the entrepreneur D’Amico, who has a large fuel depot in Maierato, on that occasion had a meeting with a representative of KMG from Kazakhstan, the largest oil and gas extraction industry ». Mancuso said in a dialogue that he could even have Eni withdraw the licenses in a warehouse that could be a competitor. “” It’s not a problem “said Luigi Mancuso – Gratteri says -” I make him withdraw the Eni licenses from the local authorities and so we will also use the Eni licenses “. This episode that the mafias have no limits and are able to interact with anyone and at any level ».
Source: L'Espresso – News, inchieste e approfondimenti Espresso by espresso.repubblica.it.
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