Renzi’s brother-in-law investigated for money laundering

Andrea Conticini with his wife

 ROME -- Andrea Conticini, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s brother-in-law, has been accused of acquiring shares in a company using money coming from renowned humanitarian charities. The money reportedly came from his two brothers Alessandro and Luca, who have been accused of embezzlement. Despite this accusation, Federico Bagattini, the Conticini brothers’ lawyer, said that all transactions were normal and denies any illegal activity.

 Following the accusations, Conticini was investigated by the Florence Public Prosecutor’s Office and his house in Rignano sull’Arno was searched. He is reportedly guilty of having re-used money from humanitarian organisations such as Unicef and Operation USA which was originally handled by his two brothers, who have also been accused for their implication in the process. Conticini and his brother Alexander are both members of Dot Media, the Prime Minister’s communications and marketing company.

 According to reports from the ‘Nazione’ daily newspaper, prosecutors Luca Turco and Giuseppina Mione are responsible for the investigation of the ‘triangulation’ process of the money which came from major organisations such as Unicef. The prosecutors reported that the money which came from the charities was transferred directly into Alessandro’s personal accounts without justification, and these transactions are said to have been taking place up until 2015. Luca, Andrea’s twin, and Alessandro, his older brother, have contested the allegations of embezzlement.

 The prosecutors on the case said that Conticini then received the money which had been obtained by his two brothers, which he subsequently used to buy shares in a company. For this reason, he has reportedly been accused of money laundering.

 No precise figures have yet been disclosed, but the ‘Nazione’ reports that it is a question of hundreds of thousands of euros, as the Bank of Italy alerted the Florence Public Prosecutor’s Office of the transaction when it went through. This has led to the searches of Conticini and his wife’s home as well as those of both his brothers in Castenaso near Bologna.

 “We contest the allegations, there has not been one instance of embezzlement. The accusation from the Prosecutor’s Office does not make sense from a logical or legal point of view,” states Bagattini, the Conticini brothers’ lawyer. “The money received from these organisations are regular payments to ‘Play Therapy Africa limited’, which have been officially verified,” he added. “What is being disputed, in that case, is whether the sums of money are being used for individual purposes or for the interests of the company.”

 Bagattini said that he has made an appeal to the court for the return of items seized during the searches of the Conticini brothers’ homes.