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The Fassino case: semi-comic portrait of the Italian Left




Piero Fassino, a name that may not say much to those who do not follow Italian politics, has recently been at the center of a court case that has caused no small stir. Born in Avigliana on Oct. 7, 1949, Fassino has a long political career behind him, having held prominent positions both locally and nationally. A member of the Democratic Party, he was mayor of Turin from 2011 to 2016 and served as minister of justice and foreign trade in previous Italian governments. So he has been a founding pillar of the Italian left for as long as I can remember, but today he really did it big.

The unbelievable, true-comedy-like affair in question concerns an incident that took place in a duty-free shop at Fiumicino airport, where Fassino was accused of trying to steal a bottle of perfume worth 100-130 euros. According to sources, this was not an isolated incident but the latest in a series of similar thefts attributed to the former minister. An affair that sounds like something out of an old 1970s comedy film, were it not tragically true.

On April 15, 2024, Fassino was at Fiumicino airport waiting to board his flight to France. Upon entering the shopping area, he allegedly took a package of perfume, presumably to give to his wife, and placed it in his jacket pocket. At the sound of the shoplifting alarm, store employees did not believe his justification of a momentary distraction and, after consulting surveillance camera images, decided to press charges.

This incident raised numerous questions, not only about Fassino’s conduct but also about the implications for his political career. The theft, if confirmed, could be seen as a sign of possible personal distress rather than real economic need, considering his position and salary. Fassino is still a parliamentarian who earns several thousand euros a month and enjoys extensive expense reimbursements. privileged person in modern Italian society, where real salaries have not increased in the past 30 years.

The fact that some accounts indicate that this would not be the first time such an incident has happened complicates Fassino’s situation. Duty-free employees reported a previous unreported theft, thus increasing doubts about the version of events given by the former mayor of Turin.

Fassino’s reaction to the accusation was to denounce a media attack, arguing that the incident, while regrettable, should have been treated more calmly and not turned into a scandal. The Civitavecchia prosecutor’s office, however, received the materials the police collected and will now need to review the case.

This episode has inevitably cast a negative light on a political figure: he has always presented himself, in words, as a tough moralist, always ready to rail against corruption, against the moral softness of others. His political acumen was, in a sense, legendary; in fact, his political predictions were perfectly realized in reverse. Today, however, he suffers the accusation of shoplifting. Perhaps the clearest picture of how the politics of the Italian left is increasingly merging the tragedy of decadence with the farce of sheer superficiality


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