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They weren't laughing! PDF Print E-mail
Feb 16, 2010 at 08:43 PM

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How low can you go? Pretty low, apparently, if one can judge from the content of phone conversation recorded by police in the context of a corruption investigation. The wiretap caught the following exchange between two businessmen not even 24 hours after 308 people were killed, and tens of thousands left homeless. in the massive quake that hit L'Aquila on April 6, 2008. Francesco Maria De Vito Piscicelli, the tecnical director of a Rome construction firm called Opere pubbliche e ambiente Spa and his brother in law, whose last name is Gagliardi, were discussing how to line up contracts in the post-earthquake reconstruction that was sure to follow. It seems incredible, but although there was a cursory reference in the conversation to "those poor things", one of the two was heard to say to the other that because of all the money there was to be made: "This morning at 3:30 I was in my bed laughing". Publication of the exchange in Italy's newspapers set off a demonstration in downtown L'Aquila where some 300 protesters, many wearing signs saying "I wasn't laughing",  tried to move into the city's red zone, the area still considered unsafe, but were pushed back by police.

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