Covid in Lombardy, Fontana at risk of trial for the ‘white coat case’. Prosecutors: “Personal interest and convenience”

The Governor of the Lombardy Region Attilio Fontana

The judicial trouble for Attilio Fontana and consequently for his reference party, the League, broke out in this very hot end of July. The governor of Lombardy risks prosecution for an affair relating to the management of the Covid emergency, a management that has exposed Fontana and his former Welfare assessor Giulio Gallera to heavy criticism and even to a merciless parody of Crozza.

The public prosecutor of Milan has closed the investigation into the assignment on 16 April 2020 of the supply of over half a million euros of gowns and other PPE to Dama, the company of Andrea Dini, brother-in-law of the president: the notice, signed by added of Milan Maurizio Romanelli and by prosecutors Paolo Filippini, Luigi Furno and Carlo Scalas, five people were notified, namely Attilio Fontana, his brother-in-law Dini, Filippo Bongiovanni (former general manager of Aria), a manager of the regional purchasing center are liable for fraud in public supplies, and Pier Attilio Superti, deputy general secretary of the Region.

The charge contested by the prosecution is fraud in public supplies. The suspects now have twenty days to decide whether to reply to the prosecutor’s conclusions by filing defense briefs or requesting an interrogation, then the prosecutors in charge of the case will decide whether to forward the request for indictment which will open the doors to preliminary hearing. On the other hand, an accusation of disturbed freedom in the process of choosing the contractor which was borne only by Dini and Bongiovanni has been removed: the archiving is looming.

In the indictment, the prosecutors write that Dama, according to the contract dated April 16, 2020, had “obliged” to provide Aria with 75 thousand gowns and another 7 thousand sets of PPE that the administration was buying for 513 thousand euros. When the conflict of interest emerged (Fontana’s wife had 10% of Dama), the suspects allegedly attempted “to simulate the existence” from the beginning “of a donation contract”. And they would have planned “the partial non-fulfillment”, so much so that the delivery of 50 thousand gowns already made was converted into a “partial donation”.

The governor, according to the prosecutors, “subject to agreement with Dini” decided to “pay, on a personal basis, the price” of those gowns in favor of Dama. Hence the attempt to make a wire transfer for the brother-in-law from a Swiss account, which gave rise to another independent investigation for self-laundering and voluntary forgery. For the 25,000 gowns not supplied, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, action was taken on the then general manager of Aria Bongiovanni “so that she would renounce the residual services” to contain the “economic damage” for Dama. Finally, Superti, deputy general secretary of the Pirellone, «under mandate from Fontana» would have defined the «details of the agreement» in a meeting on 19 May 2020, communicating them to Bongiovanni as «direct will of the President». For all, the aggravating circumstance of having committed the crime on a supply of “things intended to remedy” the “Covid pandemic”. In conclusion, for the prosecutors, there was a “collusive agreement” between Andrea Dini, owner of Dama spa, “and Fontana”, his brother-in-law, “with which they put personal interest and convenience before the public interest of the President of the Lombardy Region”.

The governor has always reiterated the correctness of his actions and, through his lawyers, has also filed documents and briefs to defend himself. “I am very saddened by the moral and political issues that emerge from this affair and which represent exactly the opposite of the truth”, was Fontana’s comment (defended by Jacopo Pensa and Federico Papa). “The truth is another – he added – I will demonstrate that that theory is completely wrong and that it represents the opposite of the truth of the facts”. Specifically, Fontana has always claimed to have acted because he did not want “the Region to have a disbursement for devices that I have always thought were the subject of a donation”; he explained that he favored «the donation, but in a virtuous way, not because it was preordained. There was no preordained procedure on my part. My subsequent involvement had the sole objective of preventing the Region from having to face a disbursement towards a family member of mine».

The news of the closure of the investigation obviously also had an echo on the political level, with Fontana finding himself under a barrage of grillini and Pd. On Tuesday (27 July) the regional councilors of the Movimento 5 Stelle staged a protest outside the Palazzo Lombardia, wearing – in a provocative manner – ‘medical gowns’. «At the time we reported the situation and the serious irregularities we had encountered and the Lombardy Region, with a stammering Fontana, had tried to answer that everything was in order, that they were donations and that it was a mistake. The judiciary, on the other hand, seems ready to make requests for indictment. Politically it is a failure of this center-right that has managed the pandemic in a shameful way and supplies and services to citizens ineffectively, favoring the Lombard excellences which means the center-right, that is friends of friends “, commented the grillino group leader in the Regional Council Massimo DeRosa.

In the same vein, the Lombard Democratic Party: “President Fontana, who lied to the Lombards, has lost all credibility and does not have the necessary authority to govern Lombardy”, declared the regional secretary Vinicio Peluffo and the group leader in the regional council Fabio Pizzul . «A little less than a year has passed since the presentation of the no-confidence motion, which was rejected in the chamber by its majority regardless of any objective assessment. The hypothesized crime is serious, the dramatic phase in which Lombardy was in is an aggravating circumstance, certainly not an excuse, as his majority colleagues try to accredit. The sooner this junta leaves the field, the better it will be for the Lombards », they concluded.

Thursday, 29 July 2021 – 15:27

Covid in Lombardy, Fontana at risk of trial for the ‘white coat case’. Prosecutors: “Personal interest and convenience”