Is it possible to fight for workers’ rights and at the same time dream about being a family friend of the Rothschild’s or being “at home” at Goldman Sachs?
In times of cuts to the welfare state and the struggle against evasion, there is a forgotten story that should be brought to light more than ever. If, after the sentence of the Supreme Court of Cassation of 21 December 2001, someone closed an eye on Philip Morris’s 120 thousand billion lire tax evasion, we have to thank, besides Romano Prodi, three sinister individuals: Massimo D’Alema, Vicenzo Visco and Oliviero Diliberto.
As they were taking part in gay pride demonstrations and television talk shows about corruption, and promoting union demonstrations and antifascist marches, these three “ass-kissers” were at the base of the colossal theft Big Tobacco was perpetrating in Italy.
In 1995, Philip Morris was accused of having set up a stable organisation whose existence had led to tax evasion up to that time of a total of 60,591 billion over a 20-year period.
The debate in Parliament began in October 1995, and Visco and the new director of Revenue, Romano declared to the Finance Commissions of the Chamber and the Senate that the existence of a stable organization of Philip Morris in Italy was questionable and problematic.
With such authoritative statements, the financial administration did not provide the Milanese tributary judges of the first and second degree with evidence sufficient and suitable to confirm its existence.
But in 2001, the Cassation Court, with two sentences involving direct and indirect taxes, affirmed the incontestable existence of Italy’s tributary claim, raising to 120 thousand billion lire the total that Philip Morris would have to pay.
Foreseeing this inevitable legal ruling, the Government, with Massimo D’Alema, Vincenzo Visco and Oliviero Diliberto and signed by President Ciampi, on the 10th of March 2000, issued legislative decree no. 74 (outside the mandate of their delegation and therefore unconstitutional).
In contrast to a fundamental principle of Italian law that states that no one can invoke ignorance of the penal law, the government decreed the non-punishability of the crime of fiscal evasion for those who found it difficult to interpret the laws that obligated them to pay taxes. This initiative released from all penal liability all evaders and their accomplices.
Consequently the G.I.P. Pfeiffer of Milan, who was about to indict all the international top officials of Philip Morris, in line with the request of the P.M. Raimondi, who was competent for this hot potato, had to dismiss the case, based on law no. 74. It was the one and only case of its application.