Mario Scaramella

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Italian associate of Alexander Litvinenko.

Background

In 1989, aged only 19, Scaramella set himself up as head of his own 'environmental police force'. Armed with a recommendation from a family friend in the National Anti-Mafia Commission, he approached two local district attorney's and was assigned control of a police squad. In June 1991, he was found guilty of impersonating a police officer. The verdict was reversed a year later. [1]

Although a baby-faced man of only 36, Scaramella claims to have been recruited several years ago by the CIA to trace relationships between South American narco-traffickers and Russian spy agencies. He has claimed to have been educated in England, Belgium, and France, without saying exactly where. He says he taught at the University of Naples (which says it has no record of him) and at various American universities, including San Jose University (which doesn't exist—though there is a San Jose State University, which says it knows nothing of Scaramella)—and Stanford University. He claims to have been a judge, but this appears to have consisted of an unpaid position as a justice of the peace.[2]

Science Research Monitoring Center

Following his acquittal, Scaramella founded a shell company called Science Research Monitoring Center along with Filippo Marino, who introduced him to Periklis Papadopoulos, an American scientist who worked for a NASA subcontractor. Scaramella used the association to persuade district attorneys in Verona and Calabria to hire him as a consultant on environmental disasters.[3]

Environmental Crime Protection Program

In 1997, Scaramella created another shell company with Marino. The Environmental Crime Protection Programme was founded with its second plenary conference in Naples. There never was a first plenary conference.

The ECPP applied for and received NATO funding to run a workshop on space technology with the Italian Government. NATO advanced workshop No. 9722715 opened on 13 October 1999 in Vilnius, Lithuania.

THE ECPP was recognised by the International Maritime Organisation and the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Environment, on the basis of its fourth plenary conference held at the offices of the Environmental Protection Agency in New York.

Scaramella had been lent the offices for an hour by Michael Penders, an EPA legal officer who was about to leave the organisation to set up his own consultancy.

The Basel Convention Secretariat's senior legal officer, Pavel Suian, signed a contract with Scaramella, in his capacity as 'ECPP Secretary-General', on 25 March 2003.[4]

Mitrokhin Commission

Scaramella was employed as a consultant to the Mitrokhin Commission set up by Silvio Berlusconi to investigate links between the KGB and Italian politicians.

Critics suggest that the real purpose of the Mitrokhin commission was to discredit the left and Romano Prodi's leadership. In a telephone conversation between Scaramella and Paolo Guzzanti, the commission's president, on 28 January 2006 (intercepted by Corriere della Sera), Scaramella is overhead telling Guzzanti that Romano Prodi was "cultivated by the KGB", citing the ex-KGB colonel Oleg Gordievsky as his source. Guzzanti responds: "In that case he is our man?" "Yes" is Scaramella's reply. "That's enough. I don't want to know anything else", Guzzanti replies.[5]

Death of Alexander Litvinenko

Scaramella met Alexander Litvinenko on the day that the latter fell ill with Polonium poisoning.

It was at the Itsu sushi bar in Piccadilly, where the two men met at 3pm on 1 November, that the highest levels of polonium-210 radiation have been found. Mr Scaramella says he only drank water, while Mr Litvinenko had miso soup and sushi. Traces of the radioactive substance have also been found in the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square, where the defector had tea with Russian associates, including a former colleague in the FSB, the successor service to the KGB, later in the afternoon.[6]

Litvinenko accused Scaramella of poisoning him before his death.

Arrest

Scaramella was arrested on December 24 and charged with "calumny", or criminal lying, against Talik. A few months later he was also charged with weapons smuggling. The trial of the six Ukrainians who had been arrested with the grenades, and who had been in custody since October 2005, collapsed for lack of evidence.
In September 2007, after nine months in police custody, Scaramella was placed under house arrest at his family's villa near Gaeta, a seaside town north of Naples.[7]
The arrest had nothing to do with Litvinenko's death. Rather, Scaramella was accused by Pietro Saviotti, a Rome prosecutor, of being involved in shipments of arms intended, bizarrely, for an attempt on his own life and that of Senator Guzzanti.
Scaramella is alleged to have organized the shipment to gain credibility as someone with access to sensitive information on Russian and Ukrainian intelligence activities in Western Europe.[8]

Affiliations

Connections

References

  1. How one man insinuated himself into poisoning case, by Claudio Gatti, International Herald Tribune, 9 January 2007.
  2. The Secret Life of Mario Scaramella, by Alexander Stille, Slate, 11 December 2006.
  3. How one man insinuated himself into poisoning case, by Claudio Gatti, International Herald Tribune, 9 January 2007.
  4. How one man insinuated himself into poisoning case, by Claudio Gatti, International Herald Tribune, 9 January 2007.
  5. The strange case of Mario Scaramella, by Geoff Andrews, openDemocracy, 12 December 2006.
  6. The Litvinenko murder: Scaramella - The Italian Connection, Peter Popham, The Independent on Sunday, 3 December 2006.
  7. Why a spy was killed, by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy, The Guardian, 26 January 2008.
  8. How one man insinuated himself into poisoning case, by Claudio Gatti, International Herald Tribune, 9 January 2007.