Vito Roberto Palazzolo: Preliminary Facts

Palazzolo left Italy in 1962 to be educated in Switzerland. He then went to Germany and then back to Switzerland where he stayed until 1988, when he moved permanently to the Republic of South Africa.

In 1982, due to his position as Chairman of a Swiss financing company, Palazzolo was involved in a criminal investigation relating to the transfer of funds from the USA to Switzerland on behalf of certain clients.

On 20 April 1984 he was arrested in Lugano (Switzerland) on the basis of a warrant of arrest issued by the Court of Rome and signed by Judge GALASSO, which requested his extradition for the following crimes:

  • 416 bis Criminal Code (Mafia association)
  • 416 Criminal Code (association to commit a crime)
  • And article 75 Law 685/1975 (association with the purpose of financing the trafficking of narcotics).

The charge referred to incidents where Palazzolo had organised the transfer of US dollars in collaboration with three Swiss citizens.

The Swiss Authorities however refused the extradition application made by the Italian and the American Authorities, and tried palazzolo, together with Messrs ROSSINI and DELLA TORRE, for the violation of Federal regulations on narcotics, operating essentially on an extension of the interpretation given to the concept of financing.

To complete the picture, it should be said that the crime in point is typical of what we know now to be money laundering, which the Swiss Criminal Code only made provision for in 1990 (6 years after his arrest).

With the conclusive judgment handed down on 3.5.1994, Mr. Vito Roberto Palazzolo was sentenced to three years nine months imprisonment.