Maar liefst drie jaar gevangenis kreeg hij opgelegd, de voormalige Italiaanse minister van Volksgezondheid Girolamo Sirchia. Die drie jaar was zelfs meer dan de openbare aanklager geeist had.
Reden: corruptie naar de farmaceutische industrie. En dat is nog niet alles: er wachten nog een zevental processen op hem.
Sirchia was degene die de Italianen, als tweede land in Europa, een algemeen rookverbod oplegde.
Dit vonnis geeft weer eens aan hoe close overheid, medische sector en farmaceuten wel niet zijn. En de rookverboden? Hoe zou daar de relatie zijn met de farmaceuten?
Former health minister Girolamo Sirchia, the man behind Italy’s smoking ban,
was convicted Thursday of accepting kickbacks in a trial into graft at a
well-known Milan hospital. Sirchia, a minister in Silvio Berlusconi’s last
government, was sentenced to three years in jail but will serve no time because
of an amnesty passed by the recent centre-left government which cut the statute
of limitations on corruption offences.
The 74-year-old blood specialist
and transplant expert was convicted of accepting $6,000 from the American
company Healthcare while he was head of a blood-disorder ward at Milan’s
Policlinico hospital. He was also found guilty of misappropriating 100,000 Swiss
francs and 30,000 euros when he was treasurer of the foundation ‘Il Sangue’
As well as the jail term – three months more than requested by
the prosecution – Sirchia was banned from holding public office for five
Before the case went to court last June, charges were dropped –
again because of the statute of limitations – for cashing in three checks in
1999 of 11,000 German marks each from the Immucor multinational.
who has always protested his innocence, called the sentence ”unreal” and said
he would appeal to clear his name even though his offence was covered by the
”Despite the evidence we presented, the prosecutors’ theorem
prevailed,” he said.
His lawyer said he was ”sorry that the court went
beyond the prosecutors’ request”.
Aside from the ex-health minister,
seven other people were convicted as well as the Haemonetics Italia
The longest term, three and a half years, was given to the
commercial director of that company, Giuseppe Trudu.
Gioacchino De Chirico and Immucor sales rep Giuseppe Strazziota got two and a
half years, the same term as Haemonetics manager Fabio De Rubeis. Haemonetics
Italia was fined 125,000 euros.
Sirchia was health minister from 2001 to
April 2003 in the center-right government of ex-premier Silvio
As health minister, Sirchia was the driving force behind
Italy’s tough anti-smoking laws which banned smoking in all public places
including bars and restaurants.
He was left out of the executive when
Berlusconi reshuffled his cabinet and some observers believe this may have had
to do with his legal woes.