Coldiretti and Unaprol. The uncertain fate of public funds intended for Italian olive growers

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Coldiretti, Unaprol, Oleum Italia Srl. The uncertain fate of public funds earmarked for Italian olive growers deserves investigations by competent, but not complacent, authorities. Here’s why.

Unaprol ScpA, Italian Olive Consortium

Unaprol ScpA, Consorzio Olivicolo Italiano, is one of many entities based in Rome, Via XXIV Maggio 43. The building of Federconsorzi, Federconsorzi 2(aka Consorzi Agrari d’Italia, CAI SpA) and Coldiretti. Unaprol is supposed to represent the interest of thousands of olive oil companies, but reading its financial statements and Chamber of Commerce visas show a different reality.

Conflicts of interest unpunished-as is always the case, at the court of Palazzo Rospigliosi-and perhaps more (1,2). Without being able to exclude the possible existence of crimes such as embezzlement to the detriment of the state, which no magistrate or other supervisory authority has yet had merit to investigate. Next, some of the key players in the Unaprol affair.

David Granieri

David Granieri is vice president of the National Confederation of Coldiretti. As if that were not enough, he is also president of UNAPROL ScpA. Whose chairman of the board of auditors is conflict of interest champion Prof. Avv. Antonio Cepparulo. (3)

Granieri is also vice-president of Elaion S.r.l. Another company, ça va sans dir, based in Palazzo Rospigliosi. It is controlled by UNAPROL ScpA, which entrusts the execution of EU-funded projects to it. Its sole mayor, once again, Antonio Cepparulo.

Nicola Di Noia

Nicola Di Noia is general manager of Unaprol ScpA and president of Elaion Srl. Di Noia himself is also president of the Agricultural Assistance Center (CAA) Coldiretti S.r.l.

CAA Coldiretti Srl, another company headquartered in Palazzo Rospigliosi, is the beneficiary of an agreement with AGEA (Agenzia Generale Erogazioni in Agricoltura) headed by Gabriele Papa Pagliardini (former shareholder of AgriRevi SpA), which has been the subject of numerous questions in the Senate and the European Parliament (4,5).

CEO of CAA Coldiretti Srl is another champion of conflicts of interest, Raffaele Grandolini. While the chairman of its board of auditors is loyalist Antonio Cepparulo.

Antonio Cepparulo

Antonio Cepparulo is chairman of the board of auditors of Unaprol SCpA, sole auditor of Elaion Srl, chairman of the board of auditors of AgriRevi SpA. As well as chairman of the board of auditors of CAA Coldiretti Srl and auditor of CAF Coldiretti Srl.

As a reconfirmation of conflicts of interest, he had his daughter Alessandra hired by Cattolica General Agency Agrifides Srl, whose director is Raffaele Grandolini. Who is head of Administration, Finance and General Affairs at Coldiretti, but also CEO of CAF Coldiretti Srl and CAA Coldiretti Srl, as well as a partner (and former president) of AgriRevi SpA. Where Antonio Cepparulo is also mayor.

Unaprol and public funding

AGEA is funding Unaprol ScpA with a European project amounting to about 20 million euros. As shown in the latest balance sheet published by Unaprol, audited by Antonio Cepparulo, which shows a receivable from AGEA of €10,747,776.00.

A river of public money flows through the water mains of a set of related entities and companies administered and controlled by the Coldiretti magic circle. But who controls these flows of public money intended for farmers, and where do the resources go?

Public money and private investment

Unaprol’s financial statements report funding for various Coldiretti-affiliated companies, some of them already in liquidation. And investments of public money in bonds issued by corporations such as Germina Campus (Ger. Cam.) S.p.A.

Ger. Cam. SpA is Coldiretti’s real estate company, also based in Palazzo Federconsorzi, the largest shareholder among others in Filiera Agricola Italiana SpA (44 percent, tied with the consortium company Consorzi Agrari d’Italia). (6) Chaired by Ettore Prandini, president of Coldiretti, and administered by Raffaele Grandolini. But there is more.

Unaprol, public money and suspect investments

UNAPROL ScpA President David Granieri-in addition to dispersing public funding as mentioned above-has ventured into an investment that more than others deserves careful investigation. The lease of the business unit that includes the olive oil milling, storage and filtration activities of the Paladino Land Reform Cooperative Society (in Palo del Colle, BA). The business unit was then sold by Unaprol to Oleum Italia Srl.

Oleum Italia Srl is a company specially formed by Filiera Agricola Italia SpA (26 percent) together with Elaion Srl (Unaprol’s subsidiary, 25 percent), and three minority shareholders. (7) Coincidentally, Oleum Italia Srl-whose life lasted only a few months, not even the time of an oil campaign-had as president Nicola Di Noia (general manager of Unaprol ScpA, president of Elaion Srl and CAA Coldiretti Srl). Vice-president Coldiretti’s King Midas Raffaele Grandolini, adviser Enrico Leccisi. (8)

Oleum olet

Oleum Italia Srl’s investment cannot be explained. Big partners, a renowned oleologist in both worlds–from Argentina to Chianti–as Marco Scanu at the helm, a put into liquidation without even presenting a balance sheet.

The public money disbursed by AGEA to Unaprol ScpA, then diverted to Elaion Srl and from there into Oleum Italia Srl, what happened to it? Young Mayor Francesco Paolone, mayor of AgriRevi SpA, among others, should be asked. In the meager hope of understanding how Operation ‘Oleum olet‘ can meet the objectives of supporting Italian olive growers that should motivate Unaprol’s subsidy management.

Embezzlement?

‘Whoever, unrelated to the public administration – having obtained from the State or other public body or from the European Communities grants, subsidies or financing intended to promote initiatives aimed at carrying out works or carrying out activities in the public interest – does not allocate them for the aforementioned purposes, shall be punished by imprisonment from six months to four years.‘ (Penal Code, Article 316-bis).

Embezzlement to the detriment of the public administration, on any territorial level (regional, national, European) is the proper crime of anyone who has received public funding directed to the implementation of works or activities in the public interest. The crime, it should be noted, also occurs when resources are allocated for purposes of public interest other than those envisaged at the time of disbursement.

#CleanSpades, the only hope.

It cannot be tolerated that the activities described in this article have been subjected to the sole reviews of auditors with shameful conflicts of interest. And it is precisely the seriousness of the conflict of interest that postulates the dutiful controls of supervisors.

The investigating judiciary must shed light on these and the many other suspicious transactions, an understatement, that the Coldiretti magic circle has put in place over the past decade. Starting with those described in previous articles on the Federconsorzi 2 saga. (9)

#CleanSpades, after #CleanHands, appears to be the only hope for returning Italian farmers to the proper management of public funds and the collective resources to which they are entitled.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) Dario Dongo. Federconsorzi 2, CAI SpA, AgriRevi, Coldiretti. The jerk dinner. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 31.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/federconsorzi-2-cai-spa-agrirevi-coldiretti-la-cena-dei-cretini
(2) Reference is made, in previous articles published by this site on Federconsorzi 2 aka Consorzi Agrari d’Italia (CAI) SpA, AgriRevi SpA and other Coldiretti-related companies, to the systematic violation of the rules guaranteeing the independence of statutory auditors. Civil Code, Art. 2399, and Leg. 39/2010 (Articles 10, 10-bis, 10-ter)
(3) Antonio Cepparulo’s multiple conflicts of interest are described in the article cited in footnote 1
(4) Dario Dongo. Coldiretti, Federconsorzi 2 and the director of AGEA. Senate Question. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 8.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/coldiretti-federconsorzi-2-e-il-direttore-di-agea-interrogazione-al-senato
(5) Dario Dongo. Conflict of interest AGEA – Pagliardini – Coldiretti, questions to the European Parliament. GIFT(Great Italian Food Trade). 30.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/conflitto-dinteressi-agea-pagliardini-coldiretti-interrogazioni-al-parlamento-europeo
(6) Dario Dongo. Consorzi Agrari d’Italia, Bonifiche Ferraresi and Filiera Agricola Italiana SpA, the vase is full. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 23.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/consorzi-agrari-d-italia-bonifiche-ferraresi-e-filiera-agricola-italiana-spa-il-vaso-è-colmo
(7) Puglia Olive cooperative society (16.34%), APPO (Association of Olive Producers cooperative society, 16.33%), AIPOP (Interprovincial Association of Olive Producers of Puglia, limited liability consortium society, 16.33%)
(8) Enrico Leccisi is another champion of conflicts of interest. Among other things, he sits on the board of Inseme SpA, a Coldiretti magic circle creature recapitalized by CAI SpA aka Federconsorzi 2. And he is a founding partner of AgriRevi SpA, together with Roberto Grandolini et al.
(9) Dario Dongo. Consorzi Agrari d’Italia SpA, Federconsorzi 2? The Poison Dossier. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 1.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/consorzi-agrari-d-italia-spa-federconsorzi-2-il-dossier-dei-veleni

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.