After two seizures (canceled by the review court and the Supreme Court) of the biomass electricity production plant of the Cinigiano Agri Power Plus company in Cinigiano and a complex preliminary investigation, which engaged the court for twenty-one hearings, the acquittal for all the defendants of the alleged “biogas scam” with the formula “the fact does not exist”.
The PM dr. Salvatore Ferraro had asked, in relation to the accusation of aggravated fraud for the achievement of public funds (Articles 640 and 640bis of the Criminal Code), for a 1 year and 6 month sentence for Andrea Salzillo, construction manager and plant manager; Giovanni Di Meo, chief executive officer from September 2012 to March 2014 and subsequently a member of the board of directors; Nicolò Marzano, chairman of the board of directors since March 2014; Antonio Pinto and Biagio Vallefuoco, members of the Renewex board of directors and de facto co-directors of Cinigiano (all defended by the lawyer Alessandro Antichi); Marzio Scheggi (defended by lawyer Fabio Tavarelli and Giada Isidori) president of the company until October 2013; Alessandro Metz, member of the Cinigiano board of directors (defended by the lawyer Franco Ciullini). Request for a higher sentence (1 year and 8 months) due to two precedents for Giancarlo Batignani (defended by the lawyer Stefano Del Corto of the Court of Siena), editor of the technical report relating to the Agricultural Improvement Plan.
According to the indictment, Cinigiano Agri Power Plus would have unduly received public economic incentives to support the production of renewable energy since it would have benefited from a more profitable mechanism thanks to false attestations on the entry into operation of the plant prior to 31.12.2012, exploiting the lack of controls and the absence of communications between the Energy Services Manager (a civil party in the process with a claim for compensation of over two and a half million euros) and the other competent bodies, in particular the Province of Grosseto.
The prosecution claimed that the plant was not, in fact, able to function (a “fake activation”, the PM defined it in the indictment) and that, once fully operational, it could not be powered by only biomass produced by the farm, not even to the more limited extent of 49% envisaged by the territorial coordination plan of the Province of Grosseto.
The prosecutor had however asked not to proceed with extinction due to prescription for the second charge (Salzillo, Di Meo, Marzano), that is, for discharges without authorization of wastewater.
The defenses instead showed that the plant came into operation on December 27, 2012 (within the deadline set by Ministerial Decree 18.12.2008) since on that date the first operation of the plant was carried out in parallel with the electricity system. , while the entry into commercial operation (with the use of the incentives) had regularly occurred on 8.5.2013 after the expected start-up and testing period.
In addition, the defenses, with the technical contribution of their consultants and in particular of Dr. Domenico Saraceno for the agronomic part, have shown that the farm was perfectly capable of producing the quantities of biomass necessary for the correct feeding of the plant and that therefore no scam was configurable.
After the discussion, the single judge dott. Andrea Stramenga pronounced at today’s hearing a sentence of acquittal because the fact does not exist for all the defendants in relation to item A (aggravated fraud) and prescription for item B (unauthorized discharge).
The company, blamed for the fact of its directors pursuant to l. 231/2001 on administrative liability for offenses, defended by the lawyer Giovanni Niccolò Antichi, was acquitted of all charges.
As a result of the acquittal, the court did not rule on the claim for damages made by the civil party, the Energy Services Manager, defended by the lawyer Alessia Liistro of the Rome Forum.
The deadline for filing the motivation is set at 90 days.