Peas In A Pod
AP/Yahoo 'reports' below.
Failed to suggest that we just torture them all until they talk.
And, that Shultz is famous for his support of war criminals in Myanmar.
And, that this is not the 1st time that the Catholic
Church profited from corruption.
Parmalat Chief Used Fleet to Curry Favor
By DENNIS REDMONT, Associated Press Writer
ROME - Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi ferried prelates and politicians on his fleet of planes and yachts and supplied the executive jet that flew a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican on a secret, unauthorized trip to Libya in 1986, officials told The Associated Press.
From the early 1980s until last year, the reserved and media-shy Tanzi kept up his high-powered connections, although now he is behind bars, accused in the massive fraud case that has bankrupted the Italian dairy giant.
The Parmalat helicopter was known as "God's helicopter" because it frequently ferried Roman Catholic clergy, including the Vatican's former No. 2 official, then-secretary of state Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, to a lecture near Genoa in 1993, church officials told the AP.
Now Tanzi has offered to sell various assets, including two antique yachts — one of them a 100-foot schooner valued at $10 million that is anchored in the port of La Spezia — to help defray company losses.
Tanzi has admitted to a $10 billion shortfall in Parmalat's balance sheet and acknowledged that up to $640 million was diverted from Parmalat to cover losses at his family's tourism business, prosecutors say. The company's new administration dismissed Tanzi's asset offer, saying it wants the missing money, not Tanzi's boats or businesses, or the planes at his disposal.
Italian prosecutors may investigate whether other corporate assets were abused for personal use, but for now their priority is determining the extent of the scandal and where any missing money is.
In Italy, there has been a long tradition of Catholic influence on economic life through the Christian Democrat Party and the Catholic-based labor confederation CISL. An alliance with Catholic institutions often could help business interests.
But there has never been an explanation for the January 1986 trip to Libya by U.S. Ambassador William Wilson, days after Dec. 27, 1985, terror attacks on the Rome and Vienna, Austria, airports killed 20 people. Libya was accused of involvement in those attacks.
At that time, official U.S. policy toward Libya called for isolating leader Moammar Gadhafi, not negotiating with him. The United States considered Libya a sponsor of terrorism and had sanctions against the country, including a travel ban.
Wilson always refused to explain the meeting, which some believed was a misguided attempt to improve U.S.-Libyan relations. A daughter in California, Marsha Hobbs, said her father was traveling and unavailable for comment.
Giulio Andreotti, Italy's foreign minister at the time, told the AP he set up a meeting with Gadhafi at Wilson's request but did not know the reason for their talks. Andreotti said he did not arrange the transportation, but for the first time confirmed an Italian report from the time that Wilson flew to Tripoli on a Parmalat corporate jet.
"I do recall that everyone went to the airport to meet the Alitalia flight from Rome but Wilson arrived on a Parmalat plane," Andreotti said.
Andreotti, who also served as premier seven times, was known for his contacts with Libya, a former Italian colony and the country's major oil supplier. He also was tried in the 1990s for allegedly being associated with the Mafia and for allegedly arranging the Mafia killing of a muckraking journalist in 1979.
He was acquitted both times.
During a March 1986 European trip that included a stop at the Vatican, then-Secretary of State George P. Shultz said Wilson's meeting was unauthorized and had been an "embarrassment."
"The meeting with Gadhafi took place. It was unauthorized, and after we found out about it we talked to Ambassador Wilson and what our view of Gadhafi is," Shultz said then. "That is the end of it as far as I'm concerned."
He would not disclose what Wilson and Gadhafi discussed, but said, "Obviously it didn't change things."
Shultz also met with Pope John Paul II, but would only say they discussed "a wide range of different topics."
Four months after Wilson's trip, the United States launched airstrikes against Libya that killed about 40 people, including Gadhafi's adopted daughter. Washington blamed Tripoli for an April 5 bombing at a West Berlin disco that killed an American soldier, among others.
Wilson, a California businessman appointed by President Reagan, resigned a few weeks after Shultz's trip. But he denied it was because of the Libyan visit.
Parmalat officials told the AP on condition of anonymity they have no dealings with Libya. The officials said they could not discuss the 1986 trip because were not working for the company then.
Tanzi frequently used his $45 million Bombardier Global Express jet to fly around South and Central America, where the company has major interests. When he flew to Nicaragua in June 2002, he was greeted at Managua's airport by President Enrique Bolanos.
He offered his aircraft to Italian politicians or their families working on earthquake and other disaster relief missions or Catholic causes.
Italian Premier Ciriaco De Mita, a Christian Democrat premier in 1988 and 1989, was a frequent passenger, as was Maria Pia Fanfani, former head of the Italian Red Cross. Her husband was a former Christian Democrat premier.
Tanzi also made donations to Catholic charities and for other works, including $30,000 to restore the organ of his parish church in Parma and $15,000 to repair a church in Collecchio, center of the Parmalat milk and food empire.
When Tanzi disappeared from view Dec. 19, he boarded a chartered Eliparma Beechcraft jet and flew to Portugal, where he visited the major Catholic shrine at Fatima, said an official in Italy's civil aviation authority.
While Tanzi had many high-powered connections and Parmalat sponsors major sports events and owns Parma's beloved soccer team, he did not flaunt those connections publicly.
Yet in an indication of the family's still-prominent role in Parma, Tanzi's son, Stefano, was cheered Saturday night during Parma's 1-0 upset match over Inter Milan. The younger Tanzi resigned last week as head of the club.
Associated Press reporter Victor L. Simpson in Rome contributed to this report.