Di Pietro, Antonio
- (1950– )An intense, hardworking opponent of political corruption, Antonio Di Pietro was born in the Molise in 1950. He became first a policeman and then, in 1981, a public prosecutor. In 1985, he joined the district attorney’s office in Milan, where he specialized in corruption investigations. In February 1992, he masterminded the arrest and prosecution of a Milanese businessman with close ties to the Partito Socialista Italiano/Italian Socialist Party (PSI) called Mario Chiesa, an event that initiated the Mani pulite (Clean Hands) inquiry, which eventually led to the investigation and arrest of thousands of politicians and businessmen all over Italy. Di Pietro became a symbol of Italy’s search for social and political regeneration and was the subject of hundreds of flattering profiles in the foreign and domestic press. The high point of the Clean Hands inquiry was Di Pietro’s ruthless but brilliant crossexamination of a dozen leading Italian politicians in December 1993 during the trial of a Milanese financier accused of having been the conduit for illegal donations to the political parties. In 1994, the Mani pulite investigation, and Di Pietro personally, became the targets of violent political opposition as they dug into the financial affairs of the new premier, Silvio Berlusconi. Di Pietro resigned in protest at the atmosphere of intimidation surrounding the investigation in December 1994, but, in 1995, he had to survive an investigation into his own conduct as a prosecutor. Cleared of all charges against him, he became minister for public works in the government formed by Romano Prodi in May 1996. In the fall of 1996, he once more became embroiled in a web of accusations and inquiries, this time relating to charges that he had given lenient treatment to a Swiss-Italian banker involved in the Clean Hands scandal in exchange for cash. Di Pietro believed that his position as a minister was incompatible with his being under investigation and resigned in November 1996 in order to clear his name. In November 1997, he was elected to the Senate, representing Mugello (Tuscany), where he won 68 percent of the vote. Di Pietro formed a political movement called L’Italia dei valori/ Italy of Values in time for the 2001 elections, but his list was unsuccessful. In the 2006 elections, Di Pietro joined the Unione/Union coalition led by Prodi. He is currently once again minister for public works.
Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. Mark F. Gilbert & K. Robert Nilsson. 2007.
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