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Filippo Antonio De Cecco to trial for fraud on the origin of wheat in pasta

On May 3, 2023, the first hearing of the trial took place - for fraud in the trade on the origin of the wheat used in De Cecco pasta - against the president Filippo Antonio De Cecco, the purchasing director his right-hand man Mario Aruffo and the then director of Vincenzo Villani quality.

1) Commercial fraud on the origin of the grain in pasta, the accusation

The prosecutor Giuseppe Falasca - who had already tried to ask for the investigation to be closed, in spite of the documentary evidence (1) - limited himself to challenging the defendants with the crime of fraud in commerce on the origin of the wheat, French instead of Italian, on direct order of Filippo Antonio De Cecco 'in his capacity as chairman of the board of directors'.

F.lli De Cecco Spa it is in turn also called to answer as administrative liability for the crime of fraud in commerce on the origin of the grain in pasta, carried out in its interest by its president Filippo Antonio De Cecco in competition with its managers. Thus demonstrating the inadequacy of the organizational models prepared for corporate social responsibility. (2)

2) AAA Public Prosecution Wanted

The judge for the Preliminary Investigations Luca De Ninis, in ordering to the public prosecutor refusing the compulsory administrative indictment of Filippo Antonio De Cecco et al.Instead, he pointed out that 'would be and are susceptible to the further insights indicated in the deed of opposition to the filing, in particular to the letters:

a) analysis of composition of grain mixtures used for the production of pasta, distinguished by origin, so-called Mix B and Mix A,

b) checks on theuse of wheat grown in North Dakota,

e) verification of cataloging of the grains purchased by the company in the various stages of the production process,

f) checks on you also purchase semolina (as well as wheat) and on the origin of the relative grains, in the light of the declarations concerning the origin of the product and about the milling in Italy of the wheat used for the production'. (4)

3) Commercial fraud or criminal association?

Further evidence reported by the GIP – already reported on our site Great Italian Food Trade (5) – they in fact belong to about 30 tons of North Dakota wheat smuggled on the pasta label as 'Italy, Arizona and California'. Evidence of false accounting records and false certifications on the fateful was then reported 'De Cecco method', against the use of semolina of uncertain origin produced by others (6,7).

Trade fraud proposed by the GIP Luca De Ninis would therefore not be an isolated phenomenon but would be part of a broader organizational context which, on closer inspection, may correspond to the case of the crime of criminal conspiracy. 'When three or more people join together for the purpose of committing several crimes, those who promote or constitute or organize the association are punished, for this alone, with imprisonment from three to seven years' (penal code, article 416. Criminal association).

4) The word to Asso-Consum

The lawyer Miriam Chianese and his Colleague Aniello Chianese of Asso-Consum, who deserve the credit for having opposed the reluctance of the public prosecutor of Chieti, comment on the outcome of the first hearing in the trial against Filippo Antonio De Cecco et al. for commercial fraud on the origin of the wheat used in the pasta

'The most striking element of the debate was undoubtedly the smallness of the charge compared to the documents that emerged in the investigation activity, which confirm the 'laziness' of the prosecution' [to say the least, ed] 'which once again demonstrates that it does not get much attention compared to the acts it produces itself.'

'It would be enough to look only at the consultancy - which the public prosecutor himself had already provided during the investigation phase and is in the records - to understand if there are elements to greatly increase the charge, with far more suspicious and fraudulent trades. Which certify an immoderate use of wheat from North Dakota'.

5) California dreaming. Space bales on the origin of De Cecco wheat

The labels where for a long time Filippo Antonio De Cecco and his followers boasted the origin of 'wheat Italy, Arizona, California' are false, as can be seen from the words of the lawyers of Asso-Consum. 'But the prosecutor fails to consider that Filippo Antonio De Cecco has never bought even a grain of wheat from California. Instead, he used huge amounts of North Dakota wheat. But the public prosecution said nothing about North Dakota wheat and did not even bother to ascertain the quantities'.

It is madness, because the distance between Arizona, California and North Dakota is equal to that between Italy and Finland, so to speak. And if it is true that the individual sale of French wheat deserves a charge, the immoderate and dissolute use of North Dakota grains, never mentioned in advertising or on the label, deserves just as many charges. We need to investigate how many sales and how much has been used over the years (lawyer Aniello Chianese, Asso-Consum).

6) False Italian wheat, slowly slowly

Crime facts contested against Filippo Antonio De Cecco and his cronies date back to at least February 13, 2020, according to the listless public prosecution. And the Court of Chieti postponed the hearing for three months, to 20 September 2023, only to decide the specious preliminary questions raised by the defense to try to exclude Asso-Consum from filing a civil action.

From the Antitrust and Consob – which in turn should open investigations into various false statements by Filippo Antonio De Cecco et al., already reported and referred to in the articles in notes to the present - no news. Meanwhile, the black knight has obtained the political protection of the magic circle of Coldiretti, joining Filiera Italia. Pecunia non olet.

Dario Dongo

cover image, spaghetti n. 12 De Ceccos purchased in Belgium during the 'dual quality food' analysis (2021) https://www.fightdualfood.eu/product/de-cecco-spaghetti-n12-500g/


(1) Dario Dongo. Filippo Antonio De Cecco, maxi-fraud on the origin of wheat. The word to the GIP of Chieti. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 8.4.21

(2) Dario Dongo. Corporate administrative responsibility in the food supply chain. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 21.6.18

(4) Court of Chieti. Office of the Judge of Preliminary Investigations. Criminal proceeding n. 1563/2020 RGNR Ordinance which provides for the formulation of the indictment (art. 409 c.5° cpp). 27.1.22. Sheet 2 out of 10

(5) Dario Dongo. Filippo Antonio De Cecco, forced indictment for commercial fraud. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 28.1.22

(6) Dario Dongo. Filippo Antonio De Cecco and the mysteries of Italian justice. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 10.8.21

(7) Dario Dongo. Filippo Antonio De Cecco, indictment for commercial fraud. 28.7.22

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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