Special Turin anti-terrorist police forces made a mega catch of weaponry at the home of a former far-right politician, including an 11-feet long air-to-air missile, along with loads of weapons and Hitler paraphernalia.
In the early morning of July 15, Digos (General Investigations and Special Operations Division), Turin, aided by police forces from Milan, Varese, Forli, and Novara raided the home of 60-year-old Fabio Bernaglio. The former activist of the regional Forza Nuevo party who had unsuccessfully campaigned for senator in 2001, BBC reported on Monday.
Police found an extensive array of handguns, semi-automatic firearms, bayonets, and knives, as well as Hitler and Mussolini paraphernalia in his home according to Reuters
Turin Police Chief Giuseppe De Matteis said that the seizure had “few precedents for the quality of the weapons and their violent potential,” according to La Republica.
“My client is a collector, and they sequestered weapons that were in his home. These weapons were not registered, but they were not connected to terrorism,” Moscatelli, Bernaglio’s lawyer stated to CNN.
“There was a misunderstanding with the Nazi paraphernalia, he also had fascist and USSR paraphernalia, but they (the police) only took things with swastikas,” Moscatelli added.
Forza Nuova, per regional coordinator Salvatore Ferrara, denied any connection to the case in a statement to CNN: “The fake-news had it that people belonging to Forza Nuova were involved in the founds in Lombardy and Piedmont, with the consequent seizure of various weapons.”
A French Matra R530F air to air missile (Apparently Qatari AF is the legitimate owner?) recovered from a neo-Nazi gang, #Italy, along with an arsenal of firearms. Apparently operational, not sure how they’d ever launch it unless they borrowed a Houthi or two.
— Cᴀʟɪʙʀᴇ Oʙsᴄᴜʀᴀ (@CalibreObscura) July 15, 2019
Ferrara continued: “If one of the arrested was a candidate of Forza Nuova way back in 2001 (18 years ago!), we affirm that on the contrary none of the people involved have been militants of Forza Nuova – which has nothing to do with the search this morning.”
Two other men, 51-year-old Fabio Bernardi, and Alessandro Monti, a 42-year-old Swiss national, who, reportedly, provided the hangar for storing the Missile at Forli Airport in Italy were also arrested.
Forza Nueva and other far-right groups are accused of colluding with Russia-backed Ukrainian separatists, which is a crime in Italy.
Other media reported that the arms were intended for the notorious far-right groups connected to neo-fascist groups in Ukraine and abroad, according to The Drive.
Earlier this month, three men were accused of fighting alongside the separatist army, that controls a proportionate chunk of land in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas of eastern Ukraine, According to La Repubblica.
Monti and Bernardi’s lawyer, Alberto Minasi Della Rocca told CNN that his clients “present, in a firm, clear and categorical manner, that they have nothing to do with extreme right-wing or ultra-nationalist circles” and are “lightyears away from that world.”
The 11-foot long, French-made, missile belongs to the Matra Super 530F class, according to The Drive, and was sold to Qatar Airforces in 1980 as part of a 14 Dassault Mirage F1 fighter Jet deal.
The Matra belongs, however, to an outdated kind of missile, that would only limitedly be deployable because it takes an equally old fashioned F1 aircraft to launch it.
The La Republica reported that the men tried to sell the rocket for $529,000, and that, reportedly, at least one undisclosed foreign party had solicited for the purchase of the weapon.
Reuters stated that police had intercepted the warfare transactions by tapping onto Whatsapp conversations of the suspects, wherein they were trying to market the warhead.
Potential customers named were the Government of National Accord in Libya and also, potentially, Iran, who partly still operate with F1s as part of their air fleet. Another prospect would be, of course, one of the two warring sides of the Ukrainian conflict.