VIAREGGIO. Life savings, old inheritances, the fruit of years of work – whatever they were, they went up in smoke. One million and 513 euros that were in the pockets of 26 Versilia disappeared as in the trick of the magician of Segrate, alias Diego Abatantuono. Money, lots of money, ended up in the meat grinder of what the Bpm and Aletti banks presented as the safe investment: a cascade of diamonds. Omitting the fact that safe investments, in this world, do not exist.
For one of the biggest scams contested by the banking system in memory, today three officials of credit institutions in Versilia and ten in Lucca are at risk of prosecution. The Milan court, where proceedings are underway to ascertain the facts of a national scandal, has set the preliminary hearing for July 19. There it will be decided whether to put 105 people on trial from all over Italy and four banking institutions: Banco Bpm, Monte dei Paschi, Unicredit and Banca Aletti. Plus the company Intermarket Diamond Business (Idb), now bankrupt, from which the diamonds were formally purchased, but they were offered directly between the branches of the branches. With lots of promotional material that provided guarantees on the operation, painted as easy and safe.
As for Versilia, the defendants are BPM officials Simona Barberini, Katia Salvatori e Luca Di Carlo. As for the Lucchesia under indictment I am Paola Del Carlo, Irene Seggiolini, Romina Giannotti, Pierfrancesco Sesto Rubino, Arnaldo Lunardi, Stefania Montinaro, Debora Mori, Alessandra Romanini, Francesca Carli, Riccardo De Luca.
According to the indictment, they proposed to the bank’s clients to invest their money in what was sold as a “safe haven”. It is a term that is used to indicate something that never loses value, a bit like gold. In this operation, the employees of the banks would have worked in close collaboration with the agents of the Idb company, from which the diamonds were physically bought, without doing the filtering action that would be required in the bank-customer relationship of trust. Indeed: according to the Milan Public Prosecutor’s Office, taking advantage of that consolidated relationship that served to “soften” a possible initial resistance. It is no coincidence that the investigators contest the defendants with the crime of fraud, for this and other circumstances.
Meanwhile, there is the question of the alleged prices of diamonds, published by specialized newspapers, but in reality simple price lists that were paid for in the same newspapers: in practice it is as if I said that the market value of a dish is the price that it shows in the menu, and that I can buy it and resell it to anyone for the same money. The proposed price, again according to the accusation, was represented as the pure and simple value of the stone; instead it included, in addition to the 20 per cent VAT, also the commissions to banks and the cost of insurance. In addition, investment returns of between 2 and 5 percent were promised, and in any case always higher than the cost of inflation, government bonds and even gold. And in the event that the buyer wanted to withdraw, he guaranteed a “right of divestment”, which however cost an additional commission from 7 to 16 percent.
That it was not possible to get rid of the precious easily, once the catch was discovered, is also demonstrated by the fact that the banks did not compensate the lost figures, proposing only the return of the value of the stone (lower). In 26 people from Versilia who consider themselves victims of the scam, customers of Bpm and Banca Aletti: they are assisted, among others, by lawyers Riccardo Carloni, Enrico Marzaduri e Emilio Soppelsa. In the process they will form a civil party, the only way to try to get back the lost money.
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