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Italian intelligence probes money trail at Russian Embassy

Italian intelligence has been closely monitoring a money trail associated with the Russian diplomatic mission in Rome. Over a period of three months at the end of 2022, it is claimed that the mission handled one million euros in cash. The origin and purpose of this money remain unknown, but its movement began during the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and has continued since then

Italian intelligence has shed light on a money trail centred around the Russian Embassy in Italy. This was reported by the newspaper Corriere della Sera, which states that the COPASIR (the Italian Parliamentary Intelligence Committee) is about to take action on a case that the Anti-Money Laundering Unit and the foreign intelligence service AISE are already investigating.

  • The dossier concerns certain operations that began in the first half of 2022. It was about “suspicious movements” detected in the three bank accounts of the Russian diplomatic mission: one account operates in currency, while the other two are in euros.
  • In just three months, at the end of 2022, the Russian diplomatic mission in Rome allegedly handled one million euros in cash. “The destination of the money is unknown, but there is a reason why the Italian intelligence has been closely following the matter: the money trail started around the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. And since then, ‘it has never stopped,’” the article reads, citing information from Italian intelligence services.

The question remains: what were the funds used for? Why did these money flows start with the invasion of Ukraine and, as it appears, have yet to end? At the moment, it is not known what the Italian anti-money laundering investigators have discovered, who have been sharing information with foreign Financial Intelligence Units for months.

  • But the documents will soon reach the COPASIR, which will hold hearings and request information.

Centrist senator Enrico Borghi, a member of COPASIR, is calling for the intervention of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni with an inquiry in which he highlights Putin’s “activism” in Italy in recent years.

  • In the parliamentary act, the opposition representative first recalls the “From Russia with Love” operation during the Conte government: a “questionable rescue mission” that took place during the days of Covid and was managed by Russian military services. COPASIR began dealing with it in the last legislature. However, it still does not have the transcript of the famous conversation between Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Russian President Vladimir Putin that initiated the odd mission.
  • Borghi asks the government if it knows the case and what initiatives it intends to take to “ascertain the legality” of the financial flow and to “prevent transfers of illicit money into our country, with the clear intention of destabilizing Italy’s international positioning.” As for the rest, it would be enough to understand if the money was only used for grocery shopping.

Pina Picierno, Vice President of the European Parliament and member of the Democratic Party, has submitted an inquiry to the European Commission to ensure “greater oversight and coordinated action between the Member States and the Commission.”

  • She explained that it is “necessary” to clarify the actions that can be taken “to prevent similar cases from recurring in the future,” she explained. “We cannot risk that Russian diplomatic premises on European Union soil represent a threat to our democracy,” she added.

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