The Strategist

Clean Energy for Dirty Money: Former Minister for the Environment of Italy Is Suspected of Corruption

08/10/2015 - 16:02

On Sunday, Italian police and prosecutors have reported the beginning of a formal investigation against the former Minister for the Environment Corrado Clini. Investigators believe that he profited from the allocation of public funds earmarked for the development of green energy in China.
As reported on Sunday, representatives of the Italian police and prosecutors, followed by Italian and international media, including the Financial Times, in Rome, officially launched an investigation into the allocation of public funds earmarked for the development of green energy in China. The projects were funded under the Sino-Italian cooperation program in the field of environmental protection. On the Italian side, they were moderated by Corrado Clini, Director General of the Ministry of Environment, and Minister of the Environment of Italy in 2011-2013.

The objectives of the program, running for 14 years, in particular, included grants to Chinese institutions and research centers, as well as local authorities. In total, the program has distributed more than € 200 million. In some cases, according to investigators, the funds were directed to dubious projects or even had no relationship to the environment. Among them - the building site of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences for € 600 thousand. (The police believe that the price is too high for this level), the restoration of ancient Italian concession buildings in Tianjin Port the € 4 million, the construction of an extraordinary "green "House at Tsinghua University in Beijing, worth € 20 million, which is now, as many say, is spending more energy than necessary.  

Mister Clini rejects accusations, calling them slander and noting the brilliant assessment of their activities, given by ministries and departments of China, which, however, did receive money from it. In particular, over the house at Tsinghua University, Mr. Clini refers to a report of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which, however, was ordered by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China, one of the largest recipients of the Italian grants.

The investigation of Mr. Clini’s activities in China started after he has been formally charged with corruption in connection with a similar program in Iraq, where, according to the prosecutor's office, he received $ 1 million in bribes from local recipients of the Italian grants. In addition, the investigation is conducted in respect of similar projects in Montenegro.


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