“I have a completely clean record” Corallo denies allegations from Milanese prosecutors

POSTED: 06/4/12 2:01 PM

St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar – Atlantis-Betplus owner Francesco Corallo denies all allegations that were brought against him. His Chief Financial Officer Rudolf Baetsen issued a press release yesterday wherein Corallo reacts to the Reuters report this newspaper reported about on Saturday and that labeled him as a fugitive. His attorney Bruno Larosa put the press release together in which Corallo “vigorously refutes all allegation brought against him.”
Today reported on Saturday that the former chairman of the Banca Popolare di Milan (BPM), Massimo Ponzellini, had been placed under house arrest, together with Antonio Cannelire. Reuters and Italian media reported last week that there is also an arrest warrant out for Corallo. The investigation concerns a questionable $200 million loan the Milanese bank granted to Atlantis-Betplus in 2004; Ponzellini is suspected of accepting an almost $7 million bribe for the deal.
The press release suggests that the “slanderous accusations” have to be placed in the context “of the renewal of the concession held by B plus, whereby numerous efforts have been made by B Plus competitors to have it excluded from the tender process. B Plus has previously submitted a complaint to this effect with the prosecutor’s office in Rome and expects the offender to be prosecuted.”
Corallo is quoted in the press release as saying: “Up to today I have not been served any alleged arrest warrant for any alleged wrongdoing whatsoever. I have never been arrested or condemned for any wrongdoing or crime anywhere in the world, ever and have a completely clean record. In any event, I am neither an Italian citizen, nor a resident and therefore I cannot be a fugitive.”
Bruno Larosa states in the press release that the civil code article 26325 the prosecutors in Milan refer to in their investigation into “alleged irregularities committed by Ponzellini” is not a criminal law article and therefore deals with relations between private parties.”
Larosa notes in the press release that the relevant civil code article deals with “infidelity following the bestowal of promise or benefits.”
Literally the article reads: “The directors, general managers, auditors, liquidators and those responsible for the review which, following the bestowal or promise of benefits, commit or omit acts in violation of the obligations inherent to their office, causing financial harm to the company, are punishable with imprisonment up to three years.”
The article also states that the same penalty applies to those who give or promise to give the benefit, and that the article can only be applies through a complaint filed by the offended. That would be, in this case, the bank itself.
Larosa states in the press release that the case is about a €105 million ($184.5 million) loan (Reuters reported its value as 148 million – ed.). “The loan was contracted by B Plus with BPM by the bank’s board in complete transparency and in compliance with all required banking regulations. The loan is up to date and in good standing with a balance due of only €33 million. As such it has been a very good deal for the bank, which has made more than €7 million in interest and fees up to date.”
Referring to the civil code article, Larosa notes: “It is evident that no financial harm, as described in article 2625 exists and that therefore no crime could have been committed.”

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