Participation in an organized criminal group

Offences

• Organizing, directing, aiding, abetting, facilitating or counselling the commission of a crime involving an organized criminal group
• Participation in other activities of organized criminal group
• Participation in criminal activities of organized criminal group

Trafficking in cultural property

Offences

• trafficking in cultural property
• Illegal import/export

Keywords

• Illicit import/export

Sentenza n.287/204

UNODC No.:
ITAx029

Fact Summary

Giacomo Medici is an Italian antiquities dealer who was convicted in 2005 of receiving stolen goods and illegal export of goods, as well as of participation in an organized criminal group, as promoter and organizer.

Medici started dealing in antiquities in Rome during the 1960s. Later on, his commercial relations expanded also beyond the Italian borders and he dealt and sold antiquities to different museums worldwide, including the J. Paul Getty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

In the 90s the Carabinieri started investigating on him and his activities, and started discovering the existence of an organization that saw Medici’s central position in the organization of all the antiquities trade outside of Italy. Hence, in September 1995 they started collaborating with Swiss police. Following subsequent operations, Medici was charged with receiving stolen goods, illegal export of goods as well as of participation in an organized criminal group and his trial commenced on 13 December 2004 in Rome.

Sentence Date:
2011-12-07

Cross Cutting

Liability

... as involves

• principal offender(s)
• participant, facilitator, accessory
• organiser/director

Offending

Details

• involved an organized criminal group (Article 2(a) CTOC)
• occurred across one (or more) international borders (transnationally)

Involved Countries

Italy

Switzerland

Greece

Procedural Information

Legal System:
Civil Law
Latest Court Ruling:
High Court
Type of Proceeding:
Criminal
 

Giacomo Medici was charged with receiving stolen goods, illegal export of goods, and conspiracy to traffic, and his trial started with preliminary hearing at the Tribunal of Rome on 13.12.2005. 

Later, the first instance sentence was appealed by the defendant Giacomo Medici and the District Attorney, requesting the re-examination of the case. The Court of Appeal of Rome in July 2009 (15.07.2009) revised the previous sentencing. 

This decision was appealed again by the defence of the two defendants (Giacomo Medici and Jacques Henry Albert) in front of the High Court ("Corte di Cassazione"), based on arguments of inconstiitutionality of the arguments presented by the previous Court. However, the High Court dismissed the appeals on 7.12.2011 and confirmed a fine to be paid to the Italian state, through the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, in compensation for damage caused to cultural heritage. 

 
 
Proceeding #1:
  • Stage:
    first trial
  • Is the decision appealable?:
    Yes
  • Decision Date:
    13 December 2004

    Court

    Court Title:

    Tribunal of Rome

     

    Location

  • City/Town:
    Rome, Italy
  • • Criminal
    Description:

    In this first stage of the proceedings, the judge for the preliminary hearings (G.U.P.) declared Guido Medici responsible for the crimes of:

    - participating in an organized criminal group as promoter and organizer (count 1), committed until April 2002;

    - continuous fencing (count 2);

    - illicit exportation of archeological objects (count 4)

     

    Outcome

  • Verdict:
    Acquittal
  • Other Outcome:

    Medici  was acquitted from count 2, 3, and 4 as the evidentiary proofs were not sufficient to prove his involvement. The judge also acquitted Jacques Henry Albert from the crime of participation in an organized criminal group.

    For Medici's charges under count 1 - participation in an organized criminal group as promoter and organizer - the judge sentenced Medici to 10 years of imprisonment, together with a fine of Euro 16.000,00 and to pay compensation to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali).

     

    Sentences

    Sentence

    Term of Imprisonment:
    10 years
     

    Fine

    Payment

  • Amount:
    160000
    Currency:
    EUR
  • Compensation to victim

    Payment

  • Amount:
    10000000
    Currency:
    Euro
  • Proceeding #2:
  • Stage:
    appeal
  • Is the decision appealable?:
    Yes
  • Decision Date:
    15 July 2009

    Court

    Court Title:

    Corte d'Appello di Roma

     

    Location

  • City/Town:
    Rome, Italy
  • • Criminal
    Description:

    After the sentencing of the preliminary hearing judge (G.U.P.) of the Tribunal of Rome, Giacomo Medici and the District Attorney filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal of Rome requesting the re-examination of the entire case. In July 2009, the appeals court in Rome dismissed the trafficking conviction against Medici because of the expired limitation period, but reaffirmed the convictions for receiving and conspiracy. His jail sentence was reduced to eight years, and fined Medici with a €10 million fine. 

     

    Sentences

    Sentence

    Term of Imprisonment:
    10 years
     

    Fine

    Payment

  • Amount:
    10000000
    Currency:
    Euro
  • Proceeding #3:
  • Stage:
    appeal
  • Is the decision appealable?:
    No
  • Decision Date:
    07 December 2011

    Court

    Court Title:

    Corte di Cassazione

     

    Location

  • City/Town:
    Rome, Italy
  • • Criminal
    Description:

    In the present proceeding, the High Court (Corte di Cassazione) dismissed the questions of constitutionality raised by the appellants as irrelevant and manifestly unfounded. 

    The Court also orders the appellants to pay the procedural expenses as well as to a compensation of 10 million Euro in favour of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali).

     

    Defendants / Respondents in the first instance

    anonymous:
    Giacomo Medici
    Gender:
    Male
    Nationality:
    Italian
    Born:
    1938
    Legal Reasoning:

    The High Court (Corte di Cassazione) dismissed all grounds of appeal presented by Giacomo Medici's defence as "manifestly unfounded". 

    Defence used:

    During both appeals, Medici's defence presented several arguments to support Giacomo Medici's appeal against the first instance judgement, among others that: 

    • the Court had presumed the existence of a link with an organized criminal group, without having demonstrated by what this link consists of. For example, the Court shall had demonstrated that the three companies mentioned were aiming at a convergent illicit and criminal aim. 
    • there was violation of the law in relation to the crime of fencing, receipt of stolen goods, as the silence of the defendant with regard to the origin of those goods is not sufficient to prove the illicit origin of those archeological objects. 
    • there was violation of the principle of "ne bis in idem" (double criminalization), in relation to previous proceedings in Greece related to a Greek statute of a female (kore) which has been identified with an object hosted at the J.P. Getti Museum in Los Angeles (USA). 
    anonymous:
    Jacques Albert Henry
    Gender:
    Male
    Nationality:
    Swiss
    Born:
    1930
    Legal Reasoning:

    Jacques Albert Henry was accused of participation in an organized criminal group based on the territorial courts findings that: he was managing three different companies allegedly used by the criminal association to recycle archeological objects,  had opened a bank account in Switzerland in the interest of the company Edition Service, had obtained a residence permit in Switzerland for Giacomo Medici.  However, according to the defence, these elements were not evidence of any illegal activity, they were "neutral" actions carried out in Henry's duty as trustee of the companies. However, the High Court (Corte di Cassazione) dismisses the defence's argument of neutrality of his actions, by reiterating the findings of the territorial court, that highlight that Jacques Albert Henry requested a residence permit in Switzerland for Giacomo Medici, providing false information about Medici's background and identity. 

    With regard to the second argument presented by the Jacques Albert Henry's defence, the High Court dismisses this plea in law, clarifying that the request made by a foreign authority is only necessary if a crime is committed abroad. However in this case, the crime has been committed within the Italian territory. It further helds that the participation in an organized criminal group that has been created and has operated in Italy also covers the specific situation of an associate who always stays physically abroad and his conduct contributes to the commission of a crime by the criminal group committed within the Italian territory. 

    Defence used:

    With regard to the charges of participation in an organized criminal group, the defence highlights how the three main arguments indicated in the first sentencing are neutral, and cannot serve as sufficient justifications and evidence for establishing a link between Henry and the organized criminal group. By carrying out specific actions, the defence held that the defendant just limited itself to carry out duties of trustee.

    Further, the defence also mentions that there was an error of law and defective reasoning with regard to the lawfulness of the request for mutual legal assistance between Italy and the Canton of Geneva. In particular, the defence is highlighting how the request was not made in relation to the crime of participation in an organized criminal group. 

    Charges / Claims / Decisions

    anonymous:
    Giacomo Medici
    Verdict:
    Guilty
    Charge / Claim:

    In the first proceeding during preliminary hearings, Giacomo Medici was charged with counts of: 

    - participating in an organized criminal group as promoter and organizer (count 1), committed until April 2002;
    - continuous fencing (count 2);
    - failure to report  (count 3);
    - illicit exportation of archeological objects (count 4).

    Finding:

    Medici was acquitted in first grade for all the other charges related to counts 2, 3, and 4.

    anonymous:
    Jacques Albert Henry
    Verdict:
    Acquittal
    Charge / Claim:

    The defendant was accused of participation in an organized criminal group  based on the following arguments. The defendant: was managing three different companies allegedly used by the criminal association to recycle archeological objects,  had opened a bank account in Switzerland in the interest of the company Edition Service, had obtained a residence permit in Switzerland for Giacomo Medici. 

    Finding:

    In essence, the High Court has rejected the arguments of appeal presented by the defence of Jacques Albert Henry. 

    Court

    Corte Suprema di Cassazione

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