Italian mass-media on testimonies given by Giuseppe Procaccini
© 15.01.2014

Giuseppe Procaccini, former head of the cabinet of the Italian Minister of Interior, testified yesterday before the prosecutor responsible for examining the issue of Alma Shalabayeva’s deportation in late May 2013.

In their comments on this case, the majority of Italian mass-media sources focused mainly on the question of whether Alfano (Italian Minister of Interior) had been aware of the DIGOS police intervention at the Ablyazov house in Italy and knew of the case of Alma Shalabayeva, prior to his conversation with Emma Bonino on June 2nd 2013.

According to Procaccini’s testimony, Alfano had been informed of the planned intervention of the Italian Special Forces and an attempt at Ablyazov’s arrest; he hadn’t however, been informed of Alma’s arrest.

The financial newspaper ‘Il Sole 24 Ore’ noticed that despite the widespread controversy raised by the case and numerous questions still left unanswered regarding the Italian authorities’ activities, Ablyazov is a mysterious person to say the least, having been accused of embezzling millions of dollars.
La Repubblica labelled Alfano a liar. The Italian Minister of Interior claimed for that for over a month, as the scandal over Alma Shalabayeva’s deportation raged on, he had been completely oblivious to Ablyazov’s case. Procaccini testified that he personally provided Alfano with information on Ablyazov, as well as the Kazakh ambassador’s accusations which had been aimed at the dissident. La Repubblica now calls on Alfano to bear responsibility for his alleged lies.

‘La Stampa’ underlines Alfano’s lack of knowledge regarding Shalabayeva’s case and her deportation. The fact that his ignorance continued until 2 June featured in the article’s headline. The article also included quotes by Proccacini, but not a word of comment.

Testimonies by Procaccini also featured on Internet portals, such as ‘Il Fatto Quotidiano’ and The Huffington Post.

Il Fatto Quotidiano quotes from an interview with Proccacini, conducted on December 27th 2013 – immediately after Shalabayeva had been released by the Kazakh authorities. In the interview, Procaccini expressed his relief at the fact that Alma and Alua had found their way back to Europe, also stating he would gladly ask Alma a number of questions – why she had never mentioned the conditions for arrests in Kazakhstan and why the issue had not been raised by her lawyers either. 
In his December 27 interview, Procaccini was also asked about his meeting with the Kazakh ambassador in Italy; before Alma Shalabayeva’s deportation, the ambassador visited the Italian MIA at about 9:30 PM, where he met Proccacini. The latter admits that this was well outside the realms of standard procedure, but nevertheless, justified by exceptional circumstances: Ablyazov having been presented as a person of utmost threat, one wanted by Interpol and posing a potential threat to public security. 

As far as Alma and Alua’s deportation was concerned, Procaccini claimed he did not know anything about the subject, hence rendering him unable to inform Alfano. He also mentions the information he received from the head of the department right after the DIGOS action, who confirmed that Ablyazov had not been arrested, but didn’t utter a word about Alma and Alua.

Procaccini was not able to answer the question when asked how it is possible for a Kazakh ambassador in Italy to contact Alfano first and ask for a meeting to discuss the issue.

The Huffington Post repeated the testimonies by Procaccini, adding that Alma Shalabayeva will probably be interrogated by the prosecutor in late January, both in the capacity of victim and perpetrator in relation to the charges of using false documents.