The court in Milan had turned down a request by Costantino Passerino to be released from prison and be kept under house arrest because he is not cooperating fully with the magistrates investigating six officials of the Salvatore Maugeri Foundation for money laundering up to €70 million in several overseas accounts including Malta. Passerino has tried to keep hidden the overseas companies he has, including several in Malta. The magistrates only got to know of them because of documents and files they found in offices and computers of arrested Maugeri officials.
Passerino admitted to the existence of these companies that he still controls only after the magistrates showed him evidence that they knew of them and of their operations.
In the last two years Costantino Passerino came at least three times to Malta to meet people he used to funnel more than €15 million out of the funds of the Salvatore Maugeri Foundation and send them to overseas accounts under the cover of funding for research.
The last time he was in Malta was on 6 October 2011 when he was accompanied by his consultant Gianfranco Mozzali. Both of them have been arrested since mid-April and are being investigated for money laundering, tax evasion and misappropriation of public funds.
Passerino and Mozzali were both in Malta at least twice in 2010: on 15 October and on 18 and 19 November. Milan magistrates have collected evidence that Malta was used at least till the end of 2011 by a network of persons who laundered up to €70 million by sending them to overseas accounts for largely fictitious business activity that cost much less to finance. €15 million of these funds were passed on by an Italian company Periplo to a company based in Malta – the SIB Laboratories Ltd that belongs to SIB Ltd whose company secretary was till a few weeks ago Dr David Gonzi, the son of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi.
Last December Milan magistrates discovered data in the computer of a man trusted by Passerino – Giancarlo Grenci – that shows that in 2009 the Bank of Valletta was used to pass on €15 million to SIB Laboratories Ltd for a health research project with a Russian company but nearly €12 million disappeared into the accounts of Passerino in Malta. His contact in Malta and Milan is the Italian accountant Gianfranco Parricchi whose office at Via Pacini, 28, Milan has the same address of Periplo and is a director of SIB Ltd and SIB Laboratories Ltd who operate out of an office in Balzan.