Who is Roberto Frimigoni ?

Google thinks that means Roberto Formigoni and so do I. One year ago FreeRepublic.com
posted an effort to translate the list of people who got free (but not valueless) rights to buy oil from Iraq under the oil for food program. The list was published by an Ahmed Chalabi affiliated newspaper in Iraq. Chalabi to freerepublic is not exactly the most reliable sourcing. However I was interested that the
list included one Roberto Frimigoni, who does not, as far as anyone can tell actually exist.

8 months ago I guessed that Roberto Frimigoni was Roberto Formigoni president of Lombardy. A week ago confirmation was all over the papers.

So who is Roberto Formigoni ? He is the founder and leader of “communione e liberazione” a very devoutly catholic organisation which has a history of dubious financing. As such he became a rather prominent Christian Democratic politician. When the party collapsed he went with a splinter that was un-alligned then a sub-splinter allied with Silvio Berlusconi and finally a sub-sub-splinter allied with Silvio Berlusconi. In this capacity he was elected and re-elected president of Lombardy.

For some reason which I can’t understand, Formigoni uses every available opportunity to attack Rosy Bindi formerly health minister in the Prodi government. The obsession is particularly irritating, since he begins his attacks by saying that she divides the world into good people like her and bad people like her opponents. Aside from that, my most vivid memory of his service as president of Lombardy was when he said that Bindy was profiting from tragedy when she noted (correctly) that responsibility for inspecting a high preassur oxygen chamber which burned killing patients belonged the region. Formigoni insisted that the chamber had been inspected thoroughly. He had to revise his assertion when it was noted that the facility included two pressure chambers of which only one was licensed and that the thorough inspectior had failed to notice the second chamber (which is roughly the size of a beached wale).

In his capacity as a very devout catholic he followed the Pope in denouncing desert storm and then sanctions on Iraq. He was, in 1991, perhaps the most prominent and eloquent Italian opponent of Desert Storm over shadowing the Italian left which was divided and confusing Needless to say, like 80% of Italians he was opposed to Bush Jr’s invasion.

The sudden explosion of evidence and allegations against Formigoni is, for him, unfortunately timed since he is up for re-election in two months. My original post in Italian below the fold.

Dio Denaro C’e ‘

Chi ? Roberto Frimigoni?

FreeRepublic.com ” A Conservative News Forum” ha tradotto il rapporto del 25 gennaio 2004 nel giornale iracheno ?al Mada? che contiene una lista di quelli a cui il regime di Saddam Hussein ha dato buoni per l’acquisto del petrolio. I buoni hanno dato ai portatori il diritto di comprare il petrolio iracheno come previsto dal programma “oil for food”. Hanno avuto un valore di mercato approssimativamente fra 5 e 50 centesimi per ogni barile. I regali sono misurati in barile che potrebbero essere comprati. I diritti a 1,000,000 barile varrebbero da $50.000 a $500.000.

Il nome sulla lista che mi interessa pi? ? quello di un italiano di cui il nome ? traslitterato dall’arabo da FreeRepublic.com come Roberto Frimigoni e che ha ricevuto il diritto a 1,000,000 barile.

Credo che questa trascrizione scorretta si riferisca a Roberto Formigoni. Vi ricordate la sua opposizione contro “Desert Storm”. Era basata soltanto sui principi cattolici o ha avuto un ruolo l’interesse economico ?

Questa potrebbe essere una sfida per la fede di alcuni cattolici. Il Presidente Formigoni pu? rincuorarsi del fatto che il pensiero che potrebbe essere inchiodato per aver ricevuto doni da Saddam Hussein mi ha causato la speranza, per la prima volta nella mia vita, che Dio c?

2 thoughts on “Who is Roberto Frimigoni ?

  1. Hi Robert, it’s amusing to read this stuff for an Italian, I suppose it’s just inevitable that Italian politics would get any outside attention only when it’s about corruption. Seen as that makes up a big part of Italian politics, sadly.

    If I may just disagree with you on one claim you make, about Formigoni being “in 1991, perhaps the most prominent and eloquent Italian opponent of Desert Storm over shadowing the Italian left which was divided and confusing”. Aside from the fact that, as you probably noticed too, *any* Italian party coalition is “divided and confusing” (with the difference that, within Berlusconi’s coalition all the other member parties happily hate each other and are always threatening to withdraw their support for Forza Italia; whereas on the left the main problem is still the same as after 1989, they just don’t know what they’re supposed to become, to be called, what their logo should be, who should run as coalition leader, and so on…). Aside from that, I do not really recall Formigoni being on the front of opposition to Desert Storm at all. It was mostly the left, politicians, journalits, opinionists, who made the case against US intervention. Formigoni was not even that prominent back then. He was indeed the most prominent centre-right anti-war politician, but for this last war in Iraq, 2003 – perhaps you were conflating the two? His lowest point was actually welcoming Tareq Aziz in a visit to Italy just before the war. And I’m saying this as someone who was opposed to the war too. But shaking the hand of the number two of a dictatorship was not my idea of being anti-war. It was awful. Pure unprincipled opportunism and sycophancy.
    I live in Lombardy, Formigoni is just one of the most despicable figures in politics here. He has his fans, especially among the Comunione & Liberazione people, who are a very tight and powerful if minority lobby. He is very arrogant and so full of himself. His social views are only marginally more advanced than those of Rocco Buttiglione. He wouldn’t have got where he is if it weren’t for the kind of political-religious connections he has.

    The current scandal is a political move from his opponents, including those within the right. His Iraqi connections had already been brought up some time ago (and it didn’t come from freerepublic), so the choice to give it prominence now just before elections is rather cynical than a matter of principles alone. But you don’t fight fair with people who don’t fight fair. So, I too am hoping it has some effect.

    By the way, public transport is plastered with campaign ads for Formigoni “il presidente di tutti”. Everybody’s president, hmm, I don’t think so. I was about to vandalise a bus just yesterday. I can only hope the money he used for those ads comes from his own pockets.

  2. Dear Laura

    My sense that Formigoni was a major opponent of desert storm might be based on seeing him argue against it on TV a couple of times. As I recall the standard of eloquence was not very high. The case on Formigoni and Oil for Food is quite strong and includes a letter with his signature. It is quite different from being friendly with Aziz as part of seeking peace and publicity (not in that order). I think the timing partly genuinely follows the timing of the Volker’s investigation and the communication from the UN to the procura di Milano.

    I live in Italy. My anger over the right changing the laws to keep Berlusconi prosciolto and Previtti out of jail is dominates my view of Italian politics, although I recognise that other issues are more important to the everyday livelihood of Italians.

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