Willemstad, Curacao (TDN) -- Recently released documents out of Curaçao has revealed that around the same time that Francesco Corallo was appointed Dominica’s permanent representative to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) then Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte sent a letter to Italy's Minister of Interior asking for a "note on the reputation" of the casino owner.
In his letter, Schotte indicated that he wanted to give Corallo "a prestigious and important institutional function," although he did not reveal the exact post.
In reply, the Italian minister, Robert Maroni said his cabinet chief would personally seek contact
"with the diplomatic mission that maintains contact with your representation in Italy, so as to provide you with all the necessary data."
Subsequently, Fons Stoelinga of the Dutch embassy in Rome informed prime minister Schotte that he was informed by the cabinet minister that while there was no conviction against Corallo, he was suspected by the Italian authorities of being involved in criminal activities.
Stoelinga wrote "in police investigations during the years 1995-1997 into Francesco Corallo it turned out this person was involved in the drug trade and an important person in the Sicilian mafia. After the arrest of his father, Francesco Corallo started a tourism centre in St. Maarten via which money-laundering took place. This information was confirmed both by the Italian police and by the Italian intelligence service."
Unlike the Curacao authorities who conducted their due diligence and denied the post to Corallo, Dominica’s prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit appointed him as Dominica’s ambassador on June 11, 2011.
Following his appointment as ambassador, Corallo was held for questioning by Italian financial police over loans he received from the former chairman of "Banca Popolare di Milano" (BPM) Massimo Ponzellini. Corallo initially claimed diplomatic immunity on account of his appointment as Dominica’s ambassador, a claim rejected by the Italian authorities.
Corallo is currently a fugitive from justice whose whereabouts is unknown. In August, 2012 he was placed on Interpol’s most wanted list with the international police organization saying he is wanted in Italy for organized and transnational crime and fraud.
However, despite the outstanding warrant for his arrest, the government of Dominica has so far not taken any action to revoke Corallo’s appointment.