|Marcelo Barone wanted by INTERPOL.|
But there's a few more twists to these fascinating story. In the tragically long Latin American corruption scales, the amount of money allegedly stolen by Barone is not that big, just over $36 million USD. It is the sheer brazenness of Barone what's truly shocking. An Italian source recently communicated to me that Barone has been flaunting his ill-acquired wealth, his Ferraris, and his access to Italy's highest political echelons in obscene fashion. The man appears to claim that, contrary to his humble and rather destitute origins in Venezuela, he is a member of Italy's extinct noble class. While to Paraguayans he was pretending to be a citizen from Panama, with a PhD, to Italians, and others met within that context, he is now purporting to be "Barone di Messina", as in Baron of Messina.
It is obvious that Barone is playing his last name card. For nothing could be further from the truth. Barone in Italian means Baron, an order of nobility. There are a few references about "Barone di Messina" online, which recount the story of a family of Scottish ancestry that arrived in Italy with Charlemagne in the IX century (from page 30):
I Barone di Messina s'imparentarono con la nobilissima famiglia Abbenevoli di Reggio Calabria, dalla quale ereditarono il titolo di marchesi di Montebello. Altri rami fiorirono in diverse località dell'isola, dando luogo a nuove propaggini. Nei primi anni del 1700, un ramo da Trapani passò in Monte S. Giuliano, con un Sebastiano Barone, figlio di Giovanni e di Rosa D’Arcilo”. (bold added)Note that in the Italian it refers to "I Barone di Messina" that is, the Barone family from Messina, rather than the Baron of Messina, got related to the Abbenevoli family from Reggio in Calabria, and inherited the title of Marquis of Montebello. The key is "I" and the following verb "s'imparentarono", it's in the plural.
One can only speculate how can a parvenu thug from Caracas, running from justice in Paraguay and object of financial alerts issued by Panamanian authorities, pretends to be a noble, especially in Europe, where it is so easy to be found out in well to do circles of obsessively self-aware people with a deep -if misplaced and irrelevant- sense of "own importance" in history.
My Italian source also said that Barone may have stashed the stolen money in a rather special and controversial bank in Italy. If this revelation turns out to be true, it would be a scandal of considerable proportions, given Barone's new found fame with INTERPOL. Then, there's also the issue of a London lawyer, wiling to recruit well connected Italians to go into business ventures with Barone.
In sum, this saga is far from over it would seem. I shall communicate all the information I've been furnished to INTERPOL, and so has done my Italian source. To be continued...