Italian Police believe Harry Fitzsimons had reason to fear for his life…

So, an update on yesterday’s post on Harry Fitzsimons, courtesy of eagle eyed Pete. Paddy Agnew for the Irish Times in Rome:

Arrest warrants for 20 people allegedly involved in the Calabrian scam, including the man from Belfast, were issued yesterday but a spokeswoman for the European Anti-Mafia Commission said last night he could not be arrested as he was no longer in Italy but rather had gone to a country where the arrest warrant was not “applicable”.

“The problem is that the man cannot be arrested because he is no longer in Italy, he has gone to a country where the arrest warrant against him cannot be enforced,” Palermo-based Sonia Alfano said.

There are some interesting details on the warrant for Fitzsimon’s arrest. Not least, the financial details. The sums of which are astonishingly large:

Mr Fitzsimons used a series of false names, according to the warrant, while via Velardo he had an extensive overseas network of economic ties. The warrant claims Mr Fitzsimons worked out of a property company in Dublin, VFI Overseas Development based at Central Chambers in Dame Court.

It furthermore states that vast sums of money were transferred to VFI Overseas Italia via London law firm, Giambrone and Law. From 2006-2008, more than €20 million was transferred to the Spain-based Italian Connection Properties via Giambrone and Law.

In this period, €75 million went through the Giambrone and Law accounts.[Emphasis added]

The Daily Mail carries a statement from the same officer quoted by the BBC yesterday saying there was no connection between this mafia scam and the IRA:

Colonel Claudio Pettrozziello said: ‘We know from the terminology he used [in wiretapped phone conversations] that the money originated from crime. We can’t prove it was IRA money but we know he still had strong links to the organisation.

‘We are still hoping to catch Fitzsimons. We have issued the warrant for his arrest but he has already fled Europe, beyond our jurisdiction.’ he said. He added: ‘He knew he was involved with the mafia and we believe he himself had reason to fear for his life.’

There are a number of details given here by the Italian police which were obviously missing from his solicitor’s account yesterday…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty