The value of the overall transactions credited on Italian bank accounts amounts to over 4 billion Euros (a 57.2% increase compared to 2014). Unicredit and Intesa San Paolo, which are more and more munificent, have won back top positions in this, once hardly valued, ranking.
These are in short the main points drafted by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finances (MEF), enclosed in the Report to the Parliament concerning the authorized operations carried out for the control of export, import and transit of weapon materials, 2015.
According to the report the Italian banks are far from restraining themselves for ethical reasons (if they have ever done so) and lavish their services and bank accounts to clients who sell arms abroad. The business has reflourished along with the booming sale of Italian military weapons (aircrafts, warships, missiles, bombs, etc.) around the world.
The overall value of the banking operations related to the final exports (the sum of the reported amounts and the attendant reported amounts) totalled 4.06 billion Euros in 2015, compared to 2.6 billion in 2014 and 2.9 billion in 2013. An increase also due, in particular, to the value of the attendant reported amounts (mainly including the mediation fees), which rose from 263.3 million in 2014 to 1.4 billion Euros in 2015.
In the past the banking institutions needed a mandatory authorization from MEF for these transactions, but as of 2013 they only need to notify their transactions via web. Hence a sub-bureaucratization of the process that has met the needs of the banks, while civil society would have preferred a prior control over this kind of activities through the mechanism of authorizations.
Even the report of MEF remarks how “this new mechanism” meets the interests of the banking institutions, proved by the increase of the notifications, which rose from 8.473 in 2014 to 12.456 in 2015.
At the top of the ranking, undisputed for years, shines the Deutsche Bank, with more than a billion euro passing through its accounts. The increase amounts to over 37,5% since 2014, although this is one of the most moderate percentage growth compared to other banks in the list. For instance, the second place if occupied by Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank with nearly 591 million euro (a data that neglects the shares of the Italian banks belonging to the group: Carispezia, Cariparma, and FriulAdria). Respect to 2014, the group had an increase of 781.5%. At the third and fourth place there are two Italian institutes: Unicredit Group (Unicredit Spa and Unicredit Bank Ag) counting right above 474 million (101% more than the precedent year) and Intesa-San Paolo with 301.3 million (an increase of 498% since 2014, when the deposited total was 50.4 million euros). Other banks have a good ranking: BNP Paribas (6.22% of the total), BNL (4.03%), and Banca Popolare dell’Emilia Romagna (2.45%, a little less than 100 million euro).
The top three institutes represent, altogether, more than the 45% of the overall pie.
A surprise is the figure of the Banco Popolare: in one-year span it increased its involvement in weapon-related investments from 147,000 euro (2014) to 44.2 million (2015). A growth of 30,000%. For years the bank based in Verona praised never to have blemished itself with this activity. Evidently, it has changed policy.
What are the paying countries that have utilized the services made available by the Italian credit institutes? At the top there is Great Britain with 271 million euro, followed by the United Arab Emirate (260 million), Germany (220 million), and Algeria (216.3 million). At the top of the ranking I tis possible to find also Israel (165.3 million) and Turkey (122 million). Peru is a surprise: 150 million euro.
In general, Middle Eastern countries are the best clients for Italian companies. They made pass in the accounts of Italian banks nearly a half billion euro. North Africa accounts for over 41% of the market.
The endless saga of armed business.
By Gianni Ballarini