February 22, 2021

Italian authorities bring money laundering charges in pandemic supply purchases investigation

Italy’s Special Currency Police Unit, in coordination with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Rome, has seized approximately €70 million in property as part of an investigation of Italian businessmen who may have received unlawful commissions totaling tens of millions of euros, while negotiating contracts for the purchase of 800 million masks from three Chinese companies.  The masks were allegedly purchased from China for €1.25 million as part of the COVID-19 Special Commissioner Domenico Arcuri’s emergency effort to contain the pandemic in Italy.  

Investigators have charged the businessmen with money laundering, self-laundering (attempts to conceal the unlawful origins of criminal proceeds) and the crime of trafficking in illicit influences.  As of February 17, 2021, the Guardia di Finanza reported that Italian authorities had seized company shares, financial and insurance holdings, real property, luxury vehicles and jewelry valued at €70 million, allegedly acquired with the proceeds of the scheme.

Guardia di Finanza Press Release