From file: Migrants at Milan's main train station, Italy | Photo: ANSA/STEFANO PORTA
From file: Migrants at Milan's main train station, Italy | Photo: ANSA/STEFANO PORTA

An Italian public prosecutor has requested prison sentences for those involved in an alleged illegal "system" run by some non-profit organizations in Milan. Those on trial are accused of falsifying documents to profit from the reception of hundreds of migrants.

Public prosecutor Gianluca Prisco on Monday, February 8, asked for 13.5 years in prison for Daniela G., currently on trial in Milan.

G. was arrested on July 2, 2019 on charges of having "de facto" managed an alleged "system" based on four non-profit organizations that allegedly falsified documents to obtain the management of reception services for hundreds of migrants.

The migrants were given little or nothing, because what interested G. was only to "profit" from the emergency, according to prosecutors.

The trial, being heard by the 4th criminal section, involves 10 other defendants, for whom the prosecution is asking for sentences of between four and seven years in prison.

G. is one of seven women who ended up being investigated. She allegedly managed the illegal "system" of the non-profit organizations: Volontari Senza Frontiere (Volunteers Without Borders), Milano Solidale (Milan Solidarity), Amici di Madre Teresa Giuliani (Friends of Mother Teresa Giuliani), and Area Solidale (Solidarity Area).

Charged with several crimes

G. is charged with association to commit a crime (based between Milan, the capital of the state of Lombardy, and two other towns in the state Lodi and Pavia), fraud against the state, and money-laundering.

She and the others (various legal representatives and alleged figureheads of the associations), according to the charges, allegedly used more than €4.5 million for "personal reasons" (Giaconi is accused of having bought a house and a shop in Milan).

In total, investigators believe that the group obtained approximately €7.5 million by illegally participating in calls for tenders between 2014 and 2018 from the prefectures of Lodi, Parma (in the neighboring region of Emilia Romagna), and Pavia.

Control procedures became more stringent in 2017.

G. and at least 10 other people, including legal representatives and alleged figureheads of the organizations, were served custody orders by the Lodi finance police in July 2019.

G. was taken into custody in jail, five were placed under house arrest, and five others were placed under residential restrictions.

The investigation revealed, according to the charges that the group had created a kind of underworld gang to profit from asylum seekers.

The accused allegedly promised "economic support" to convicts charged with mafia association, and in particular, "a salary without performing any work." This, say prosecutors, allowed them to obtain the fake documents needed, but also allowed those already convicted of mafia association to request alternative detention measures in the Italian prisons because they were listed as workers with the non-profit associations.

During wiretapped conversations, one of the suspects was heard saying: "If they catch us with the gas still turned off, we'll be in f-ing trouble!"

The prefectures disbursed funds to the non-profits between 2014 and 2018 that were supposed to be used for migrant services such as meals, housing, cultural-linguistic mediation, legal protection, and psycho-social-health services.

On March 1 and 8, the defense will present its case, while sentencing is scheduled for April 7.

 

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