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Abuse of office for European funds

Senior manager of the Ministry […] acquitted because of lack of mens rea (“because the fact does not constitute a crime”) […], of the charge of misuse of office (article 323 Criminal code).
The defendant would have benefited a temporary group of primary consulting companies (R.T.I.) […] S.p.a., […] S.p.a. and […] S.r.l. (hinc “R.T.I.”), through the stipulation of three supplementary acts to the European tender from the value of 21.380.000,00 €; additions, apparently without justification, that would have abusively increased the consideration due from the Ministry 

The defence, through the analysis of the wording, the Call for Proposals and the supplementary acts, undermined the monistic interpretation of the contract between the R.T.I. and the Ministry advocated by the Public Prosecutor, valuing systematic interpretation pursuant to Articles 1363,1367 and 1369 of the Civil Code.

This reading ensured the survival of the clause in article 4 of the contract, which allowed the Ministry to implement the agreed services by entrusting additional services to the R.T.I. It was also demonstrated how the supplementary agreements were necessary to quickly increase the R.T.I.’s thereby preventing the Ministry from dispersing EU funding by exceeding the time limits set in the European Plan.

The convening of a public procurement procedure would have been, in those time frames, incompatible with compliance with the deadlines set by the European tender and would have led to the dispersion of unused funds by Italy.

The Court, joining to the defense’s argument, ruled out the existence of the lack of mens rea of the alleged crime, holding that the defendant had not acted with intention of procuring unjust profit for the R.T.I., but on the contrary, to virtuosly use the resources available to the Ministry, thereby avoiding their return to the European Commission.

Criminal Court of Rome, Second Section, public hearing on July 15, 2019, No. 3819/2014 N.R. e n. 7702/2015 R.G. Dib.

Avv Carlo Zaccagnini | Studio Legale Carlo Zaccagnini - Roma e Milano

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