Antonio Velardo is starting legal proceedings against reporters and newspapers that have published fake news about him.
For a few weeks, Eng. Antonio Velardo has been mentioned in different media outlets based on a report made mainly by the IrpiMedia group for its OCCRP partners as a result of the leaking of bank accounts at the Credit Suisse bank. This team of journalists has made the mistake of misinterpreting a legal case where Mr. Velardo was accused of various charges related to the mafia, tax evasion, and money laundering around 10 years ago of which he was fully acquitted under the prosecutor’s request.
The central premise of the journalistic report is based on the wrong fact that the accounts of Eng. Antonio Velardo could not be reviewed by the Italian authorities by the time of the accusations and if justice had had access to them, they would have found him guilty of money laundering in favor of the mafia. However, this is not true as the Italian authorities did have indeed access to Mr. Velardo’s accounts, they blocked them and investigated them during the case and after his acquittal, they returned them to Mr. Velardo. Velardo has provided a paper from the Swiss Ministry of Confederation that proves that the accounts in question were all given to the Italian prosecutors through an acknowledgment of an international rogatory and were indeed also investigated by the Swiss authorities.
The court’s legal documentation proves that Mr. Antonio Velardo:
Has never had secret accounts in Switzerland. All his accounts, including those of the Credit Suisse bank, were investigated by the Italian judiciary, which first ordered their blocking and investigation and then unblocked them because no irregularity was detected, since the origin of the money deposited in the accounts could be reconstructed. . For its part, the Swiss government, following the blocking of the accounts at the request of the Italian judiciary, also carried out an investigation and also concluded that there was no criminal evidence in the movements of the accounts or the origin of the funds. Therefore, his name was erroneously and unfairly mentioned in this journalistic investigative report known as “Suisse Secrets”.
He was acquitted for “not having committed the crime” in the Metropolis trial in which he was involved in money laundering crimes. and belonging to criminal organizations of the mafia. All the charges were dropped during the trial and even Eng. Antonio Velardo was totally acquitted even at the request of the same prosecution since they found no criminal evidence.
He has never met members of the Mancuso family and has never been involved in the mafia or organized crime and this is clearly established in the outcome of the trial. By the way, Mr. Antonio Velardo has never baptized Mr. Antonio Maccarone’s son, as the newspaper articles admit. In any case, Mr. Maccarone does not have a criminal record Antonio Velardo is not a Catholic and is not the godfather of Maccarone’s son as can be seen in the records of the church.
He never received direct payments for brokering properties related to the Jewel of the Sea project in Calabria. The money passed from foreign clients to a law firm, mainly that of the lawyer Giambrone who, after due diligence, paid the construction company Cuppari for the sale and the company VFI (of which Velardo was a partner), for the intermediation as a real estate agency. VFI was building sales on several projects and Jewel of the Sea was just one of them. Velardo did not receive any money directly from Jewel of the Sea but took a dividend from his company VFI which did not participate in any compensation action and Velardo was never sued for liability related to the failure of the Jewel of the Sea project.
Eng. Velardo was also acquitted in the Black Money trial where the accusatory theory aimed to prove that Velardo, along with his lawyer and accountants, had improperly invested the tax amnesty money in other companies in Italy, constituting money laundering in the that the predicate offense would be only tax evasion. The accusation itself is ridiculous and controversial since reinvesting the amnesty money was precisely its objective of the amnesty, in fact, Eng. Antonio Velardo was once again completely acquitted of these accusations because, as the court verdict indicates “the act does not constitute a crime”. Would you imagine being prosecuted for something that is not a crime? It was simply ridiculous, so he was again fully acquitted.
Just for you to understand the level of confusion about this case, which was a clear mistake on the part of the prosecutor’s office in the Calabria region of southern Italy. At the beginning of the criminal accusation, the prosecution submitted an arrest warrant against Eng. Velardo, which the Supreme Court later canceled, indicating that the prosecutors had not provided the evidence of the accusations and therefore, Eng. Antonio Velardo could not be arrested. To make matters worse, the prosecutor of the “metropolis operation” requested the acquittal of Ing. Velardo of all charges against him. All this is recorded in the court records.
Apparently, the IrpiMedia team has only reviewed the original accusations and has not looked at the development of the court case, which has led to this erroneous and false interpretation. These reporters appear to be biased towards the Credit Suisse bank scandal.
We know that in fact, that news published by IrpiMedia and OCCRP has echoed in several other newspapers and that therefore it is possible that they have not exhausted due diligence and adequate investigation before making these erroneous allegations public. Mr. Antonio Velardo reserves the right to act through the corresponding legal provisions to those other newspapers as well.
We value the work of the investigative press and the importance it represents in clarifying criminal cases for citizens. However, when justice and the press make a mistake, those accused who are not guilty suffer terrible consequences. The reputation of Eng. Velardo has been immensely affected by this news, who together with his family is under exceptional emotional stress.