Antonio Di Pietro

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Antonio di Pietro

Antonio Di Pietro (born on 12 October 1950 in Montenero di Bisaccia, Italy) is a Member of the European Parliament, former Italian Senator and was a magistrate in the team of the so-called "Mani Pulite".

Contents

Prosecutor

Born to a poor rural family of Molise, very young he went Germany to work as a waiter in a restaurant, to pay for his studies. He graduated in law and was admitted to serve in the Police as an officer. After a few years, he entered the judicial career as an prosecutor.

Together with other known judges like Francesco Saverio Borrelli, Ilda Boccassini, Gherardo Colombo, Piercamillo Davigo and others, he founded the Mani Pulite ("clean hands") team, which investigated on political corruption.

In this role, he put under investigation hundreds of local and national politicians, all the way up to the most important national political figures, among which Bettino Craxi; he is supposed to be the one who sent Silvio Berlusconi the famous "warning of investigation" (a formal act to inform a citizen that an investigation is being run about him) while the prime minister was heading an international meeting on police cooperation.

The investigation warning, or Avviso di garanzia in Italian (later formally reformed by the Parliament into the new name Invito a comparire), was in the years between 1992 and 1994 all but a guilt sentence to many Italians, who saw loathed politicians exposed by this procedure. While this was hardly a sign of respect of elementary rights as "Innocent until proven guilty", it must be remembered that the corruption had been so evident and blatant that even politicians were embarrassed when they actually had to defend themselves from these charges. By the time's procedures, such a communication had to be sent to any person subject to investigation by three months since the beginning of the said investigation.

He soon became the most popular among Mani Pulite judges, due to his popular way of speaking, with a number of dialectal inflections and expressions, coupled with a sensible accent and a determined temper.

Minister

After the effects of the Mani Pulite investigations disbanded the previously ruling parties (first of all, Democrazia Cristiana), Di Pietro was called by Romano Prodi in his new governing team, as a minister for the Public Works, with competences on all what was primarily object of bribery (all the initiatives financed by the state). Here he tried to impose a controversial project which would have doubled the main national motorway between Bologna and Florence, causing a violent opposition by inhabitants of the interested areas, as well as the embarrassed protest of ecologists, who were politically sustaining Prodi's coalition but could not accept such a plan which would have destroyed splendid Apennine valleys and woods.

It was noted that Romano Prodi had previously been under investigation, run by Di Pietro himself, but had been discharged before any trial.

He came under investigation himself in 1997 about his activities, both in the police and as a judge, but this was considered by most to be a political move. It was later found that the main prosecutor of Di Pietro in these times, Fabio Salamone from Brescia, was the brother of a man that Di Pietro himself had prosecuted, and who was sentenced to 18 months of jail for various corruption charges. It took however some time before the authorities realized this and ordered Salamone to other duties and after years of trials, Di Pietro was eventually cleared of all charges.

See also: Escalating conflict between Berlusconi and Di Pietro on the backfight of Berlusconi against the Mani Pulite judges.

Political career

After being cleared, Di Pietro started a political career, a thing he had previously excluded on the grounds that he did not want to exploit the popularity gained doing what he perceived to be just his duty.

He later founded the Italia dei Valori (Italy of Values) party, which wanted to keep on fighting against political corruption in Italy.

As a protest against the mounting tolerance to corruption in most Italian political parties, and the condescendent attitude of left-wing politicians like Massimo D'Alema towards Berlusconi, he did not run together with the left-wing coalition in the Italian elections of 2001, which were won by Silvio Berlusconi's coalition.

Di Pietro collected just short of the nationwide 4% limit which must be passed to enter the Lower Chamber of the Parliament in the proportional quote, and a single senator, who ironically immediately defected to Berlusconi's party.

His movement is named Italia dei Valori ("Italy of values") and received two seats in the European Elections of 2004. The other seat is currently taken by Giulietto Chiesa, a former communist journalist.

He is Member of the Bureau of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and sits on the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs.

He is also a substitute for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and chairs the Delegation for relations with South Africa.

Career

See also: European Parliament election, 2004 (Italy)

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External links

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