Antonio Di Pietro

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Antonio Di Pietro
Antonio Di Pietro Siena 2010.JPG
Minister of Infrastructures
In office
May 17, 2006 – May 8, 2008
Prime Minister Romano Prodi
Deputy Angelo Capodicasa
Preceded by Pietro Lunardi
Succeeded by Altero Matteoli
Minister of Public Works
In office
May 17, 1996 – November 20, 1996
Prime Minister Romano Prodi
Preceded by Paolo Baratta
Succeeded by Paolo Costa
Personal details
Born (1950-10-02) October 2, 1950 (age 64)
Montenero di Bisaccia, Italy
Nationality Italian
Political party Italy of Values
(1998; 2001-present)
Other political
affiliations
Democratic Party of the Left
(1997-1998)
Democrats of the Left
(1998-1999)
The Democrats
(1999-2001)
Profession Politician
Judge

Antonio Di Pietro (born October 2, 1950) is an Italian politician. He was a Member of the European Parliament, an Italian Senator, and Minister of the Prodi Government. He was a prosecutor in the team known in Italy as Mani Pulite (Clean Hands) in the early 1990s.

Prosecutor[edit]

Born into a poor rural family from Montenero di Bisaccia (Molise), as a very young man Di Pietro would go to Germany to work in the morning in a factory and in the afternoon in a sawmill in order to pay for his studies. Back in Italy, he graduated from night school[1] with a degree in law in 1978 and was admitted to serve as a police officer. After a few years, he started a judicial career as a prosecutor.[2][3]

Mani Pulite[edit]

In February 1991, Di Pietro began investigating Milan's politicians and business leaders for corruption and kickbacks.[4] Together with other well-known magistrates such as Francesco Saverio Borrelli, Ilda Boccassini, Gherardo Colombo, and Piercamillo Davigo, he worked on the Mani Pulite ("Clean Hands") team, which investigated political corruption.[5] As part of this team, he investigated hundreds of local and national politicians, all the way up to the most important national political figures, including Bettino Craxi.[1] The Italian press named the investigation "Tangentopoli" ("Bribesville").[6]

He soon became the most popular of the Mani Pulite judges, due to his peculiar way of speaking, with a number of dialectal inflections and expressions, coupled with a pronounced accent and a determined disposition. However, Di Pietro was accused by Craxi of having provoked a "false Revolution", and of investigating only some politicians, ignoring the opposition parties. Only in 2012, Di Pietro admitted that Craxi was right when during the process Enimont he accused the Italian Communist Party of having received illegal funding from the Soviet Union. Craxi's sentences seemed to him "criminally relevant", but Di Pietro omitted to investigate that crime.[7][8]

When the Tangentopoli investigation focused on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Di Pietro became the focus of a slander campaign and strong political pressure, leading him to resign from the judiciary.[4]

Use of technology[edit]

Di Pietro was also known for being one of the first Italian prosecutors to use digital technologies in his work, using computers and visual presentations, which raised some protests (for example, by advocate Guido Spazzali).[citation needed] Di Pietro soon became interested in information technology (IT), and used it actively in his work. Instead of taking classics—in Italy, the usual high-school education for lawyers—he had studied to become an electronics technician (though he has never taken a computer course).[9] He still maintains an interest in IT, with his blog[10] and YouTube conferences.

Once he uttered a famous sentence to describe his own behaviour: "As a bricklayer I tried to build my walls straight, as a policeman I tried to arrest criminals, and as a judge I tried to bring people to trial when there was good reason to do so."(Quoted in 'Running on a clean-up ticket' by Domenico Pacitti, The Times Higher Education Supplement, London, May 11, 2001 http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/159664.article)

Minister[edit]

After the Mani Pulite investigations resulted in the disbandment of the previous ruling parties (first of all, Democrazia Cristiana), Di Pietro was called into Romano Prodi's new governing team as minister for Public Works,[4] with responsibility for the areas most affected by bribery—all the initiatives financed by the state. Here he tried to impose a controversial project which would have doubled the main national motorway between Bologna and Florence. It provoked violent opposition by inhabitants of the interested areas. Ecologists, who had supported Prodi's coalition, protested the plan, which would have destroyed Apennine valleys and woods.[citation needed]

Romano Prodi had previously been the subject of an investigation run by Di Pietro, but the charges had been dropped before any trial.

Di Pietro came under investigation himself in 1997 for his activities both in the police and as a judge. It was later found that the main prosecutor handling Di Pietro's case, Fabio Salamone from Brescia, was the brother of a man that Di Pietro himself had prosecuted, and who had been sentenced to 18 months of jail for various corruption charges. Although it took some time for the authorities to realize this, Salamone was eventually allocated other duties and, after years of trials, Di Pietro was eventually cleared of all charges.

Political career[edit]

After being cleared, Di Pietro started a political career, something he had previously excluded on the grounds that he did not want to exploit the popularity he had gained while doing what he perceived to be just his duty. He was elected to the Italian Senate in a by-election caused by the resignation of a senator, and defeated right-wing journalist Giuliano Ferrara in the Mugello constituency, a left wing stronghold.

He later founded his own movement, Italia dei Valori (Italy of Values), making its main theme the fight against political corruption in Italy. As a protest against the growing tolerance of corruption in most Italian political parties, and the complacent attitude of left-wing politicians like Massimo D'Alema towards Berlusconi, he did not run alongside the left-wing coalition in the Italian general election of 2001, which was won by Silvio Berlusconi's coalition.

Di Pietro's movement collected just short of the nationwide four-percent limit necessary for entry to the Lower Chamber of the Parliament under proportional representation, and gained a single senator—who immediately defected to Berlusconi's party.

Running alongside the former leader of the Italian Communist Party and founder of the Democratic Party of the Left, Achille Occhetto, he received two seats in the European Elections of 2004. The other seat is currently taken by Giulietto Chiesa, a journalist.

Di Pietro was one of seven candidates for leader of the left-wing coalition The Union for the general election held on October 16, 2005—eventually won by Romano Prodi—in which he obtained 3.3 percent of the votes, ranking fourth.

On May 17, 2006 Di Pietro was appointed Minister of Infrastructures by Romano Prodi, as part of his new government.

He is a member of the Bureau of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and sits on the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs. He is also a substitute for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and chairs the Delegation for relations with South Africa.

On January 30, 2006 he published a letter in the Italian newspaper L'Unità, in which he promised to work for a law that will prohibit anyone from being elected more than twice consecutively (although he has been an MP since 1996), and prohibiting anyone who has received a definitive sentence from becoming a candidate in elections.[citation needed]

In September 2010, Di Pietro harshly criticized Berlusconi and the parliament for approving a controversial tax amnesty bill.[11]

In late October 2012 Antonio Di Pietro came under examination in an inquiry by the Italian national television program "Report"[12] who questioned the alleged spending of IDV funds for personal use. Di Pietro has denied wrongdoing.[13][14]

Vidcast[edit]

In December 2006, Di Pietro started a vidcast on YouTube, a video sharing website. In the vidcast, issued weekly since January 2007, Di Pietro talks about the issues discussed in the weekly Government Cabinet.[15] Other prominent politicians, such as Angela Merkel of Germany, had released one-off vidcasts, but this was perhaps the first time that a minister of a government in office had a regular vidcast.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cowell, Alan (March 5, 1993). "Rome Journal; Scandal Produces a Hero (Or Is It an Inquisitor?)". The New York Times (New York). 
  2. ^ Quaranta, Giuseppe Gustavo (March 21, 1998). "Breve Biografia di Antonio di Pietro e Storia Dell'Italia dei Valori" [Brief Biography of Antonio di Pietro and history of Italy of Values] (PDF) (in Italian). Dell'Italia dei Valori. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Antonio di Pietro" (in Italian). Rai Educational. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Cook, Bernard A. (2001). "Di Pietro, Antonio (1950–)". Europe since 1945: an encyclopedia 1. New York: Garland Publishing. p. 313. ISBN 0-8153-4057-5. 
  5. ^ "17 Gennaio Nasce 'Mani Pulite'" [January 17 Born 'Clean Hands'] (in Italian). One Italia. 
  6. ^ "Di Pietro, corruption & Clean Hands: interview with Domenico Pacitti". August 26, 2003. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  7. ^ Corriereweb. "Su Napolitano aveva ragione Craxi".  (Italian)
  8. ^ Il Giornale. "Di Pietro ora dà ragione a Craxi".  (Italian)
  9. ^ Di Pietro, Antonio. "L'informatica e Mani Pulite" [Information Technology and Clean Hands]. Intervista su Tangentopoli. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  10. ^ "DiPietro". Di Pietro, Antonio. Archived from the original on August 17, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  11. ^ Bannerman, Lucy (2 October 2010). "Berlusconi opponent Antonio Di Pietro calls for an end to an Italy of mafia and spaghetti". The Times (London). Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  12. ^ Sabrina Giannini (October 27, 2012). "Gli insaziabili". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). 
  13. ^ "Antonio Di Pietro replica a "Report" "15 case? Solo due appartamentini"". L'Eco di Bergamo (in Italian). November 2, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Da mia sorella Concetta: "Tonino, fai il tuo dovere e pagane le conseguenze". November 2, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2012. 
  15. ^ "IDVstaff's Channel". YouTube. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Paolo Baratta
Italian Minister of Public Works
1996
Succeeded by
Paolo Costa
Preceded by
Pietro Lunardi
Italian Minister of Infrastructures
2006–2008
Succeeded by
Altero Matteoli
Assembly seats
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Member of the Italian Senate
Legislatures
XIII

1997–2001
Succeeded by
Title jointly held
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies
Legislatures
XV, XVI

2006 – present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
New Party
President of Italy of Values
1998 –
Incumbent