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Magistrate Francesco Saverio Borrelli

Francesco Saverio Borrelli
was born on: 
Sat, 12/04/1930
Naples, Italy
and died on: 
Sat, 20/07/2019
Milan, Italy

Mani Pulite - a legacy like no other


Outside Italy, the name Francesco Saverio Borrelli is almost unknown. Within Italy, it is a name that, for years, struck fear into the hearts of the corrupt in the private sector and in public office, including Silvio Berlesoni. Investigating magistrate Borrelli was fearless in demanding that the rich, powerful and downright dangerous appear before him as he set about resolving the terrible state of affairs of public spending in Milan where it was estimated that at least 10% of the cost of all public contracts was lost to corruption. In the 1990s, an ambitious plan to create an underground railway system left the city in chaos as the money ran out, leaving giant holes in main roads - holes that, as the equipment and tools were removed, were left uncovered and often unprotected except for a flimsy bit of plastic tape that didn't last long.

Borrelli was an enigma: while all over Italy magistrates and judges were being blown up, he was not. Indeed, even today, looking back over photographs of his career, the over-riding impression is of a happy, confident man who was almost never photographed without a smile on his face.

Hundreds of people were arrested and there were many prosecutions. Outside Italy, Mani Pulite is largely unknown. In Milan, in particular, its originator is a hero - except to those who got found out.

There is more on the story by one of the investigating accountants Giorgio Lagana and two colleagues. Bilanci falsi: come nascono le frodi societarie, come scoprirle, come prevenirle shows the extent of the problems that the investigators uncovered during Manu Pulite.

Nigel Morris-Cotterill