Crates of Cigarettes and Sexual Stimulants: Scandal Hits the Italian Navy in Abu Sittah – Al Marsad

The Attorney General in the city of Brindisi, southern Italy, issued an arrest warrant for five Italian Navy soldiers and a Libyan Coast Guard officer affiliated with the Government of National Accord (GNA) on charges of smuggling, embezzlement, corruption, and counterfeiting. The Brindisi Times newspaper described it as a scandal in the Italian Navy.

[Libya, 13 May 2020] – The Brindisi Attorney General’s order came two years after the seizure of 700 kilograms of contraband cigarettes from Tripoli aboard the Italian ship Caprera anchored at the Abu Sittah base in Tripoli. The five soldiers and the Libyan officer were charged.

Several Italian newspapers and websites covered the story. It all started when the Italian military found a contact in the Libyan Coast Guard. Then, they issued counterfeit bills to purchase goods using the budget of the Italian military operation in Tripoli. Fearing exposure, they tried to buy the silence of their comrades against part of the shipment, and in the end, they were preparing to sell crates of contraband cigarettes for both colleagues and others.

The Caprera

Nearly two years after the exposure of the tobacco shipment on the Caprera, the Brindisi Attorney General called for precautionary measures against five Italian naval personnel and a Libyan Coast Guard officer for smuggling cigarettes and Cialis drug used to treat impotence in men on board an Italian military ship. He charged them of embezzlement and incitement to corruption in violation of their official duties.

The website Scoglio di Italia indicated that the matter ended up with the sailor Marco Corbisero from Taranto in Italy in prison by order of the investigation judge in the Brindisi Court. Marco was the Naval Technical Officer, who is also under investigation for bribing other colleagues.

In addition to the imprisonment of Marco, the Libyan Coast Guard officer, Mohamed Hamza bin Abulad, is under house arrest, as are Roberto Castiglione from Taranto, Antonio Filugamo from Naples, Antonio Musca from Brindisi, and Mario Ortelli from Naples.

Italian newspapers reported that the Brindisi Attorney General said that the results of the investigation by the Economic and Financial Unit of the Brindisi Police stated that the suspects had organized the shipment, consisting of 774 kilograms of cigarettes and Cialis from Tripoli Port to Brindisi Port, which was emptied on the Garibaldi wharf in Brindisi Port in July 2018.

According to the investigations, the mastermind of the operation was Marco Corbisero, who, from October 13, 2017, to May 6, 2018, served as the Naval Technical Officer heading the restructuring team of the Caprera, transported from Italy to Tripoli allegedly to strengthen the fight against illegal immigration.

According to the Italian Attorney General, Corbisero provided the funds needed to finance the purchase of the shipment in Tripoli and the illegal charges for operations that did not exist with in whole or in part. This was part of the goods and services needed to restore the Caprera ship and paid for by the Italian state.

The bills for the services were issued in favour of a Libyan company ironically called “Trust” and linked to the Libyan Coast Guard officer, who was included in the investigation and considered the counterpart of Corbisero in the deal.

After the purchase of the said contraband and loading the Caprera, as soon as it arrived at Brindisi Port on 15 July 2018, Corbisero was charged with attempting to bribe employees on board. Corbisero was ready to transport the cargo to the marine offices in the city of Taranto by an official car driven by Ortelli. It departed on 15 July o Brindisi and reached Caprera to load the freight and transport it to Taranto.

© Al Marsad English (2020)

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