The leasing of a luxury car contested by some directors of the company of which he was president, an invoice for just over ten thousand euros which was never paid. And years after the events, many mutual accusations. The battle between Emanuele Orsini, vice-president of Confindustria and candidate for the number one position, and the trade association FederlegnoArredo, of which he was president from the first months of 2017 to June 2020, also holding the presidency of Flae in the same period, the company at the time controlled by Fla which organizes sector events, is no holds barred.
This newspaper has already dealt with the leasing of the Porsche Panamera signed by the president in March 2019, and initially registered to the company, today contested by Flae to Orsini through a letter signed by the company’s CFO Gabriele Fraschini. As announced, the vice president of Confindustria has rejected any objection in recent days, also filing a defamation complaint against Fraschini.
The Porsche case without the knowledge of the councilors
From the minutes of two meetings of the Flae board of directors, which Republic was able to consult, it emerges however that the contract stipulated in the name of the company for that leased car used by Orsini part of Flae’s board of directors, at least three directors, are not aware until the information is delivered to one of them in an anonymous envelope. And between 9 and 15 June 2020 there is a heated debate in the board of directors. On 9 June Orsini himself «reported to those present that he had received a letter from the councilors Colombo, Feltrin and Pastorino with the request to give evidence to the board of directors regarding a car registered in the company’s name in use by the president…, of which the council did not has been made aware in its entirety.” The three councilors also ask for “adequate and complete information” on the contract. Orsini immediately clarifies that “the operation was carried out within the powers granted and within the spending limits assigned” and that “if there was a mere underestimation in terms of communication, he apologizes to the entire board”. He then reports that the Porsche is the subject of a leasing “in the name of the company but with costs borne” by his natural person, since – he continues – “from the outset he gave written instructions to the CFO so that it was retained in the paycheck on an annual basis the difference between the financial leasing fee and the recognized benefits, excluding any charge borne by the company”. On that occasion the president also produces the documents ready to carry out the transfer of the leasing contract from the company to himself.
The debate in the council
CFO Fraschini, it is further written in the minutes, «illustrates the details relating to President Orsini’s pay slips, giving evidence of the fact that the cost of the car for the company is equal to zero and the transfer of the same leasing contract from Flae Spa in the person of Emanuele Orsini.” Mayor Brocca specifies that «the behavior in question, from a purely technical point of view, is not objectionable». Wide-ranging discussion in which many councilors believe that their esteem for Orsini and his work outweighs any mistakes made by the president with the lack of communication. However, the phrase from Claudio Feltrin, who would later take over as president of Fla, was lapidary: «If a director of my company had done something like that I would have ended the relationship». And two other councilors are along the same lines. The tone becomes heated between those who defend Orsini, who «has committed a slight, but cannot be questioned», and those who instead attack him. The only thing they agree on is to meet again six days later, on June 15, so they can examine the papers.
On June 10, meanwhile, Orsini sent a bank transfer of 13,209.53 euros to Flae to refund the amount that should have been withheld from his May paycheck for part of the installments already paid by the company for the leasing of the Porsche. June 15th, new board of directors: many discussions must have already taken place in private. At the beginning of the session, in fact, Orsini declared that he “assumes all responsibility deriving from the underestimation error committed” on the car. He then specifies that he “does not want to create difficulties for the board and the company” and informs those present of his “irrevocable resignation” from the position of president of both Flae and Fla. A long debate follows with numerous declarations of esteem for Orsini; among the councilors there are those who speak of “persistence” towards him. Finally, the resignation was unanimously accepted by the board of directors.
The canceled debt of the window company
Another issue brought to the attention of the parties by Fla, after years of silence, concerns the renovation of windows and doors and windows at the Orsini house, in the province of Modena. In 2019, in fact, the Nardin company carried out some “supply and installation of external doors and windows” works for the entrepreneur for which it boasts a credit of 13,200 euros. Nardin itself also has a debt at stake, not with Orsini but with the Made exhibition company, at that time entirely controlled by Flae. Thus, on 2 October 2019, a private agreement was signed between the legal representative of Nardin and Orsini in which the latter undertook to pay “within ten days” from the signing of the document the debt of 10,640 euros that Nardin has towards Made. The consequence is that the credit that Nardin claims directly towards Orsini drops to 2,560 euros.
Why this private agreement, instead of a simpler full payment by Orsini of the invoice presented by Nardin, who would then have paid the debt to Made on her own? Sources close to Orsini explain that the president had been informed that Nardin had participated in a fair in April 2018 and had not paid part of the invoice to Made. At that point Orsini expressed his willingness to take on the debt, since Nardin was a company he knew. But the intentions do not match the effects: Made will never see that money. Indeed, the credit of 10,640 euros towards Nardin which Orsini has undertaken to pay, is placed among the contingent liabilities by Made – i.e. effectively canceled – on 2 October 2019, the same day as the private agreement.
The debt cancelled
Who decided that that credit should be considered uncollectible and cancelled? We don’t know this at the moment. What is certain is only that on 24 October 2019 at 00.18 at night, Orsini received an email from the CFO of Flae, who was also Fraschini at the time, in which the credits claimed by Made were examined and it was explained that «from the due diligence concluded today it emerged that the only two credits at risk are… and Nardin (closed after 30 June 2019, which is the reference date of the due diligence). I reported that the Nardin credit is now closed.”
Therefore, the credit on that date – 22 days after the private agreement in which Orsini undertook to pay it in Nardin’s place – is “closed”, which does not necessarily mean that it has been paid. Is it possible that Made canceled the credit the same day Orsini promised to pay it? Is it possible that Orsini, just three weeks after signing, forgot what he had agreed? Here too, sources close to the vice president of Confindustria limit themselves to explaining that Fraschini had written to Orsini that the issue had been resolved and that Orsini was not aware that the Made credit had been included among the contingent liabilities.
Orsini: insinuations with singular timing
Distraction, some superficiality, both in the case of the leasing unknown to some Flae advisors and in the inglorious end of Made’s credit? Possible. Just as it is possible that Orsini’s suspicion is well-founded, that «insinuations, requests and observations – to use the words of his lawyer in a reply letter addressed to the leaders of Flae – are revealed, with singular timing, only today: coinciding , that is, with consultations for the renewal of Confindustria’s top management». Indeed, let’s say that it is probable that those who make moves in recent weeks do not want to see Orsini as president of Confindustria; moreover, even the behavior of CFO Fraschini, who five years ago does not appear to have contested the cancellation of Made’s credit and now signs a letter to the same company urging it to demand that sum which was never paid, appears paradoxical. But it is almost obvious that whoever, like Orsini, is a candidate for an important position as the leader of Italian industrialists, passing through the preliminary opinion of the three wise men appointed by Confindustria, must expect an in-depth examination of his actions, even past ones, and has all the interest in dispelling every shadow