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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
08/01/18 11:03

New Year's Eve double trouble to be sorted out in Trieste

Final trial verdict on the Logistic Platform, currently being manufactured by ICOP, was overturned by the High Court of Cassation in favour of Mantovani; meanwhile, Public Prosecutor's office suspected Mafia infiltration in the takeover of (now declared) bankrupt Depositi Costieri Trieste, recently transferred to Life by Giuliana Bunkeraggi

After the usual end-of-year break, thorny issues which might badly hurt the Julian port – recently going at full steam - await for Zeno D'Agostino. The President of Trieste Port Authority promptly took due actions in relation to one of the two 'accidents', although the second affair would definitely imply far more complicated decision making which should also engage other stakeholders.

In essence, an unforeseen verdict (n. 31226) issued by the Court of Cassation on December 29th, 2017 about the Logistic Platform, overturned earlier judgement in favour of Mantovani, the manufacturing company which lost the contract apparently already adjudicated at bid opening.

The above decision was made four years ago and, in the meantime, another contractor started construction works, therefore a huge (seemingly 132 million Euro) claim for compensation will be finally lodged by Carmine Damiano, President of Mantovani.

“The United Chambers of the Supreme Court of Cassation did justice to Mantovani”, stated the new winning pool while also pinpointing how the tender was “adjudicated to a competitor although they submitted far better technical and financial proposals for the design, construction and management of the new logistic platform in Trieste port”, continues Mantovani, also representing the temporary Association of companies founded, on May 7th, 2014, in partnership with VGT Venice Green terminal and Samer.

In January 2014, the pool's (7 million Euro) offer resulted far more convenient than any other and technical specifications were perfect; however the winning partnership was disqualified by Trieste Port Authority due to an earlier conviction against one of its founders, although, at the time of the tender, the convicted manager no longer joined the bidding pool.

However, due to the above, Trieste Port Authority formally adjudicated the tender to ICOP temporary association, while Mantovani lodged an appeal, particularly also claiming for the lack of professional and moral standards, pursuant to Art. 38, comma 1, c of  decree Law 163 dated 2006, of the new winning pool.

Defence lawyers claimed such infringement was particularly due to the lack of criminal-records' evaluation to be carried out by the Adjudicative Institution on the winning pool's partners.



Nevertheless Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Tribunal (TAR) rejected the appeal and confirmed formal adjudication, while Mantovani filed a further claim before the Council of State, which in turn confirmed the first instance judgement pursuant to verdict n. 6284 dated 2017.

Finally a third appeal was lodged by plaintiff before the High Court of Cassation and the Tribunal  stated that final verdict issued by the Council of State in 2017 showed a serious denial of justice – very rare occurrence in which the High Court can overturn a verdict issued by the Council of State – towards Mantovani, thus revoked previous judgement and returned the case to the Council of State.

In essence, final verdicts issued by TAR Friuli Venezia Giulia and by the Council of State badly hurt Mantovani.

“Should the proceeding be approved, adjudication would be overturned and substantial claim compensation would be paid”, states Damiano, adding they are “confident that justice will prevail”.

The second affair relates to Deposti Costieri Trieste (DCT), old dating company operating in the oil business since the early '900, declared bankrupt for owing overall 41 million Euro (9 of which sanctions) to the Italian Tax Agency; tax debts consolidated in between 2015 and 2016.

As storage structure of petroleum products (145,000 cubic metres capacity) owned by other companies, DCT must pay excise duty rates; in case of failed payment, the Tax Agency would take due legal actions against the company which, in turn, would take further actions against other subjects.

Due to the above, Public Prosecutor's office asked Trieste Tribunal to declare DCT bankrupt; furthermore, in 2015, the company was taken over by Giuliana Bunkeraggi, controlled by Trieste-native entrepreneur  Franco Napp, who already owned 50% shares and bought the left 50% from ENI turning into sole shareholder.

Last summer Giuliana Bunkeraggi sold their 100% in DCT to Life and Managing Director Franco Napp quit his office to become President of the latter company.

The evidence of feasibility assumptions to settle the situation disclosed in October 2016, in parallel with the first tax payment notice received from the Italian Customs Agency, was assessed; Financial institutions rejected any transaction.

Judges pinpointed that the investigation carried out by Trieste Finance police showed discrepancies in the company's sale, in fact last June Life took over, for 4.5 million Euro, 100% shares held by Giuliana Bunkeraggi for a couple of years.

According to Public Prosecutors Life Srl was primarily founded by Campania-native entrepreneurs, therefore, it goes without saying that Trieste port structure shows mafia infiltrations.

Judges suggest Trieste AdSP “to develop a full restructuring plan in order to prevent any criminal infiltration aimed at controlling Trieste, as well as any other, port. Criminal organizations attempt controlling port areas, as big cities, to handle illegal trade”.

The Italian Finance Police is currently investigating the affair, meanwhile AdSP stated that “pursuant to preentive measures taken by Trieste police in relation to alleged mafia infiltration, Port System Authority of Eastern Adriatic Sea started a proceeding to disrupt state concession granted Depositi Costieri Trieste. The Advisory notice, pursuant to anti-mafia regulations, was lately applied for by Port Authority, within the proceeding authorizing the reshuffling of corporate structure after DCT sold 100% shares to a different subject. Such authorization is provided for by the regulations for maritime concessions”.

D'Agostino also pinpointed they support the law against any criminal infiltration attempt, in order to safeguard trade development in the port.

Angelo Scorza

TAG : Ports