WILLEMSTAD, Curacao -- According to reports, former prime minister of Curacao, Gerrit Schotte was ready to appoint Francesco Corallo, who is wanted by Interpol, to a prestigious and important institutional function in the Central Bank.
Corallo is wanted in Italy for organized crime/transnational crime and fraud, according to Interpol’s ‘most wanted’ webpage.
This is not the first time the Italian has popped up on the radar screen of law enforcement officials.
On November 10, 2011, Italy’s Guardia di Finanza (the financial unit of the tax police in Rome) raided the home and office of Corallo while investigating a questionable US $200 million loan from the Roman Banca Popolare to gaming giant Atlantis/Betplus.
Corallo was described as the ‘beneficial owner’ of Atlantis/Betplus by the Italian media.
However, when his home was being raided, Corallo claimed diplomatic immunity on the grounds that he was an ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for Dominica.
But the matter took a twist when the FAO office in Rome declared it did not know Corallo. In a statement released to the Italian press in November last year, the FAO said Corallo “is not the organization’s permanent ambassador for the Commonwealth of Dominica.”
The Italian press further reported the Italian Foreign Ministry as saying that Corallo could not have been FAO ambassador because he was conducting economic activities in Italy and it would be “inappropriate for someone with business interests in our country to enjoy diplomatic immunity.”
In a release to the media in November 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dominica confirmed that Corallo was being sought to be the island’s permanent representative at the FAO and the proposed appointment “was guided by standard policy.”
The ministry said the release was being sent because “negative comments are being promulgated with respect to the character and integrity of an Ambassador Designate of Dominica to the Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO.”
Meanwhile Corallo, who is believed to be in St Maarten, said in a statement that was mailed during the past few days to a St Maarten media house that he sent a letter to the attorney general of that country, Taco Stein, indicating his willingness to cooperate with law enforcement on the island since he is a Dutch citizen.
According to the media house, Corallo said that the accusations and warrant in Italy are specifically for “conspiracy and intent of corruption of a private individual” which according to him, is not a recognized crime in St Maarten and most other countries of the world.
Corallo is reported as saying that the accusations made against him in Italy are “false and unfounded.”
Republished with permission of the Curacao Chronicle