US embassy cable - 02ROME2660

POSSIBLE ITALIAN INDICTMENT OF MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT

Identifier: 02ROME2660
Wikileaks: View 02ROME2660 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Rome
Created: 2002-05-31 16:54:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: IT MW OPRC PGOV MW OPRC PGOV SR SRIT EUN
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ROME 002660 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/31/2007 
TAGS: IT, MW, OPRC, PGOV, MW, OPRC, PGOV, SR, SRIT, EUN 
SUBJECT: POSSIBLE ITALIAN INDICTMENT OF MONTENEGRIN 
PRESIDENT 
 
REF: BELGRADE 1312 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: POL MIN-COUNS THOMAS COUNTRYMAN, 1.5 B AND D 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: THE APPARENT INTENTION OF THE INDEPENDENT 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  02660  01 OF 02  311621Z 
ANTI-MAFIA PROSECUTOR TO PROCEED WITH AN INVESTIGATION OF 
PRESIDENT DJUKANOVIC IS A NOT UNEXPECTED RESULT OF A 
YEARS-LONG PROBE, AND A MASSIVE ONGOING TRIAL, INTO CIGARETTE 
SMUGGLING ACROSS THE ADRIATIC.  IT IS NOT/NOT, HOWEVER, 
MOTIVATED BY ANY POLITICAL INTENTION ON THE PART OF THE 
ITALIAN GOVERNMENT.  END SUMMARY 
 
2. (U) ITALIAN PRESS HAS REPORTED IN DETAIL ON THE INTENTION 
OF THE ANTI-MAFIA PUBLIC PROSECUTOR IN BARI, GIUSEPPE SCELSI, 
TO ENTER MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT DJUKANOVIC ON THE LIST OF 
PERSONS UNDER INVESTIGATION ON CHARGES OF MAFIA CONSPIRACY 
FOR THE PURPOSE OF INTERNATIONAL TRAFFICKING IN CONTRABAND 
CIGARETTES.  DETAILS OF THE POTENTIAL INDICTMENT, AS REVEALED 
IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CHIEF ANTI-MAFIA PROSECUTOR PIERLUIGI 
VIGNA, ARE SIMILAR TO THOSE PREVIOUSLY REVEALED IN ZAGREB'S 
"NACIONAL" AND OTHER REGIONAL PUBLICATIONS.  THEY INCLUDE: 
THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE ITALIAN CRIME SYNDICATES IN THE 
REGIONS OF NAPLES (CAMORRA) AND PUGLIA (SACRA CORONA UNITA); 
PAYMENT TO DJUKANOVIC BY THE ITALIAN CRIME SYNDICATES OF UP 
TO THREE MILLION USD A MONTH; AND LAUNDERING PROCEEDS THROUGH 
THE CYPRIOT-BASED COMPANY DULWICH.  LEADING TURIN NEWSPAPER 
"LA STAMPA" REPORTS THAT SCELSI IS ALSO HUNTING DOWN 
DJUKANOVIC'S ASSETS, ISSUING LETTERS ROGATORY SEEKING 
INFORMATION ON DJUKANOVIC'S ACCOUNTS TO AUTHORITIES IN CYPRUS 
(COMMENT: GOOD LUCK!), SWITZERLAND AND OTHER EUROPEAN 
COUNTRIES. 
 
3. (U) ITALIAN PROSECUTORS ARE OBLIGATED BY LAW TO 
INVESTIGATE ANY ALLEGATION OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY THAT THEY 
RECEIVE.  NORMALLY, A PROSECUTOR WOULD NOT RELEASE THE KIND 
OF DETAILS THAT SCELSI HAS UNTIL THE INVESTIGATION HAD TURNED 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  02660  01 OF 02  311621Z 
UP SIGNIFICANT CORROBORATING DETAIL OF THE ALLEGATION.  THE 
BARI PROSECUTOR HAS BEEN PURSUING LEGAL ACTION AGAINST 
CIGARETTE SMUGGLERS SINCE AT LEAST 1999, FOCUSING ON ITALIAN 
CRIME FIGURES AND MULTINATIONAL TOBACCO COMPANIES EVEN MORE 
THAN ON MONTENEGRINS.  TWENTY-EIGHT PEOPLE HAVE SO FAR 
RECEIVED JAIL SENTENCES, ACCORDING TO THE PRESS.  ANOTHER 80 
SUSPECTS, THE MAJORITY OF THEM ITALIAN, ARE CURRENTLY ON 
TRIAL IN BARI.  IN ADDITION, THE PROSECUTOR'S TRAIL HAS 
PROBABLY BEEN AIDED BY ARRESTS IN THE LAST EIGHTEEN MONTHS OF 
LEADING ITALIAN CRIMINALS INVOLVED IN TOBACCO SMUGGLING. 
 
4. (C) THERE ARE CONFLICTING REPORTS AS TO WHETHER OR NOT 
SCELSI HAS RECEIVED AN OPINION FROM THE ITALIAN MFA ON 
DJUKANOVIC ENJOYING IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION.  A SOURCE IN 
SCELSI'S OFFICE SAID HE HAD TAKEN THIS STEP BEFORE GOING 
PUBLIC, BUT THE MFA HAS ISSUED A STRONG DENIAL THAT IT HAD 
BEEN CONSULTED OR GIVEN AN OPINION.  EMBASSY HAS BEEN UNABLE 
TO REACH AN AUTHORITATIVE OFFICIAL OF THE MFA WHO COULD 
CONFIRM OR DENY, BUT WE WILL KEEP TRYING. 
 
5. (C) LJUBISA PEROVIC, THE GOM'S REPRESENTATIVE IN ROME, HAS 
BEEN BESIEGED BY ITALIAN, SERBIAN AND MONTENEGRIN 
JOURNALISTS.  HE TOLD POLMC MAY 30 THAT HE WAS FRUSTRATED BY 
HIS INABILITY TO GET ANY CONCRETE INFORMATION FROM EITHER THE 
MFA OR SCELSI'S OFFICE.  (PEROVIC, WHO WAS YUGOSLAV 
CONSUL-GENERAL IN BARI FOR FIVE YEARS BEFORE OPENING 
MONTENEGRO'S OFFICE IN ROME, DESCRIBED SCELSI AS A "CLOSE 
FRIEND AND ADVERSARY.")  BY HIS INFORMATION, THE KEY EVIDENCE 
AGAINST DJUKANOVIC HAD COME FROM A "PENTITO" (TERM USED FOR 
MAFIA SMALL-FRY WHO TESTIFY AGAINST THEIR BOSSES), AN ITALIAN 
WHO THE GOM HAD EXTRADITED FROM MONTENEGRO AT GOI REQUEST. 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        ROME  02660  01 OF 02  311621Z 
HE THOUGHT THAT THIS INDIVIDUAL WASN'T ANYONE WHO WAS 
ACTUALLY PERSONALLY KNOWN TO DJUKANOVIC, BUT CONCEDED IT WAS 
POSSIBLE THAT THE PROSECUTOR HAD OTHER EVIDENCE AS WELL. 
 
6. (C) PEROVIC PROBED FOR ANY INDICATION OF THE MOTIVES FOR 
ANNOUNCING THE INVESTIGATION NOW, JUXTAPOSING IT SUCCESSIVELY 
WITH: THE ITALIAN PARLIAMENT'S DECISION TO FORM A SPECIAL 
COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE FORMER FM DINI'S ROLE IN THE SALE OF 
SERBIA TELEKOM IN 1997; THE RECENT VISIT OF SERBIAN PM 
DJINDJIC TO ROME; DJUKANOVIC'S SUCCESS IN LOCAL ELECTIONS; 
AND THIS WEEK'S VISIT TO PODGORICA OF DEPUTY MINISTER OF 
FOREIGN TRADE ADOLFO URSO, THE HIGHEST LEVEL GOI VISITOR IN 
SOME MONTHS.  (JUST BEFORE THE NEW STORY BROKE, BOTH ITALIAN 
AND MONTENEGRIN PRESS PROMINENTLY PLAYED URSO'S PARTING 
COMMENTS PRAISING MONTENEGRO FOR MEASURES TAKEN TO CURB 
ILLEGAL CROSS-BORDER TRADE.)  HE ALSO CRITICIZED AT LENGTH 
THE FINANCE MINISTER IN THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT, OTTAVIANO 
DEL TURCO, WHO HAD MADE CRITICISM OF MONTENEGRO A TRADEMARK 
OF HIS TENURE AND WAS AGAIN SHOOTING OFF HIS MOUTH.  HE NOTED 
THAT ITALIAN PRESS CRITICISM OF MONTENEGRO AS A BASE FOR 
SMUGGLERS, A STAPLE STORY IN 2000, HAD LARGELY DISAPPEARED. 
PEROVIC SAID THAT THIS WAS NOT BECAUSE OF THE CHANGE IN 
ITALIAN GOVERNMENT IN MAY 2001, BUT BECAUSE THE PROBLEM HAD 
LARGELY BEEN BROUGHT UNDER CONTROL.  (COMMENT: IT'S TRUE THAT 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4434 
 
PAGE 01        ROME  02660  02 OF 02  311622Z 
ACTION EUR-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   CIAE-00  INL-00   DODE-00  SRPP-00 
      DS-00    FBIE-00  VC-00    H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   L-00 
      VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00  NSCE-00  OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00 
      PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00   SP-00    SSO-00 
      TRSE-00  USIE-00  PMB-00   DSCC-00  DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 
      SAS-00   SWCI-00    /006W 
                  ------------------B66AFB  311622Z /38 
O 311654Z MAY 02 
FM AMEMBASSY ROME 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4010 
INFO EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY 
AMCONSUL NAPLES PRIORITY 
AMCONSUL FLORENCE 
AMCONSUL MILAN 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 ROME 002660 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/31/2007 
TAGS: IT, MW, OPRC, PGOV, SR 
SUBJECT: POSSIBLE ITALIAN INDICTMENT OF MONTENEGRIN 
PRESIDENT 
 
BERLUSCONI'S GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN LESS INTERESTED THAN ITS 
PREDECESSOR IN CRITICIZING MONTENEGRO. THE ITALIAN MFA HAS 
ALSO TOLD US THAT ALL OF ITS INDICATIONS ARE THAT MONTENEGRO 
IS NO LONGER A MAIN SOURCE OF CIGARETTES SMUGGLED INTO 
ITALY.)  TO ALL OF THESE COMMENTS, POLMC REPLIED THAT THERE 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        ROME  02660  02 OF 02  311622Z 
IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT SCELSI HAD ANY REASON TO BE 
INFLUENCED BY "ANTI-MONTENEGRIN CIRCLES" OR TO HAVE A 
POSITION ON THE FEDERAL RELATIONS BETWEEN SERBIA AND 
MONTENEGRO. 
 
7. (C) COMMENT: IT'S TO BE EXPECTED THAT MANY MONTENEGRINS, 
AND NOT A FEW ITALIAN NEWSPAPERS, WOULD SEEK A HIDDEN 
SIGNIFICANCE IN THE EXACT TIMING OF THIS NEWS.  IT IS ALSO 
UNDERSTANDABLE THAT DJUKANOVIC SUPPORTERS (AND EVEN HIS 
DETRACTORS) WOULD SEEK TO EXPLAIN THE MOVE AS A POLITICAL 
MEASURE RELATED TO ITALY'S DETERMINATION TO KEEP MONTENEGRO 
WITHIN YUGOSLAVIA.  BUT IT JUST AIN'T TRUE.  ITALY'S 
PROSECUTORS, AS WE'VE REPORTED PREVIOUSLY, ARE EVEN MORE 
AUTONOMOUS THAN THEIR US COUNTERPARTS; THEY LITERALLY ANSWER 
TO NO ONE.  THE INABILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT TO INFLUENCE HOW 
AND WHO THE PROSECUTORS CHOOSE TO INVESTIGATE HAS BEEN A 
CONSTANT ANNOYANCE TO PRIME MINISTER BERLUSCONI, WHO HAS 
FACED A SERIES OF INVESTIGATIONS, INICTMENTS AND TRIALS 
LASTING RIGHT UP TO TODAY.  ECAUSE OF ITS HISTORY, ITALY HAS 
GIVEN THE SPECIL ANTI-MAFIA PROSECUTORS EVEN MORE PROCEDURAL 
LEEWAY IN INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF ORGANIZED CRIME 
ACTIVITY.  NOR IS IT LIKELY THAT A FIGURE NOW IN THE 
OPPOSITION (DINI OR DEL TURCO) WOULD HAVE A MOTIVE (LINGERING 
SYMPATHY FOR MILOSEVIC?!) TO TAKE THE RISK OF PUSHING THE 
PROSECUTOR TO GO PUBLIC.  ONE TYPE OF POLITICAL MOTIVE CANNOT 
BE RULED OUT: THE AMBITION OF A PROSECUTOR TO MAKE A NAME FOR 
HIMSELF.  EVEN WITH THAT POSSIBILITY, THIS CASE IS VERY MUCH 
WHAT IT APPEARS TO BE: A COMPLEX, LONG-TERM, ANTI-MAFIA 
INVESTIGATION MOVING GRADUALLY UPWARD FROM LOWER TO HIGHER 
LEVEL.  END COMMENT 
DEAN 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        ROME  02660  02 OF 02  311622Z 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 
 2002ROME02660 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL 


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