Vinay Menon is a former host of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s “Celebrity Flick Court,” and co-host of the “Infamous British Journalist.” He is the author of “Thinking About Moving to Britain,” and has also written for EURweb and for American Airlines. He lives in New York City.
A colorful real estate deal earlier this month is being called a “dog-fight” (and a “dog feeder”).
This June 17 story came from Italy’s ANSA news agency, quoting a report by the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) on Mamma Pranima, which is a project run by French lingerie mogul Frederic della Casa. The FIU was allegedly “examining the potential of a case where gold bullion deposited by the now-defunct investment firm, Monaco Gold, was stored by private order with the lingerie magnate’s Mamma Pranima firm.”
So, what has Menson on the defensive?
Italian company lawyer ,Piero Ursini tells Menson, “Mamma Pranima is a legal entity, and the FIU has no right whatsoever to take such an action. We are investigating the case, the investigation is being conducted with the competent national and international authorities.”
“Is the world’s richest pet trying to sell Madonna’s old house or has fake news gone to the dogs?”
Anyway, the story quickly spread across the globe (and became fodder for International News Network) but Menon still isn’t buying it.
“The story is somewhat academic. I understand that it’s based on a private letter supposedly written to the President of FIU by Frederic della Casa’s lawyer which is as it should be — private. The contents of that letter, we would call salacious, if they weren’t so sad.”
“What I find rather worrisome about the report is that it seems to be unfolding in just the same way as fake news does at times. Why would FIU’s attention be wibbled on something they didn’t say? Isn’t it fair to ask that for information?”
In the letter FIU’s PRV managers asked for an investigation over “delegating to a private company a protected function which is not its own.”
“This is not the first time that private firms have been delegated to private firms’s keep as safe as possible,” Menon says. “In fact, this has happened to private banks and services many times and now is the case with valuables. But, the FIU’s aggressive questioning of this letter in the media seems to me in bad taste.”
When an email investigation by Menson points out the FIU failed to keep the name Mamma Pranima in the emails and removes the PRV email signature as the federation’s form of ID, the matter seems settled.
But in all actuality, Menon believes a bigger problem is being ignored here.
“The more important and pervasive issue for me is that the FIU simply never should have the power to investigate others’ property as if it was their own. If they are going to be the ones to check up on them, then they need to check up on themselves more heavily. It’s perfectly appropriate for them to check this type of thing out, but if they cannot, then I wouldn’t say it’s proper for us to do the same. As a fan of financial regulation and as a former finance professional, I find this very suspicious indeed.”
Mansplaining is Menson’s most prevalent appeal; it’s just a shame that the Mamma Pranima story isn’t