Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Acquarone vs RCS

Michele Acquarone, Managing Director at RCS Sport (owner of the Giro d'Italia, MSR, Il Lombardia, +) and director of the Giro d'Italia, was fired in November, 2013. He had been suspended in October, 2013, as a precautionary, "non-disciplinary", measure while an investigation of a shortfall of 13 million euro was taking place.

Today, I received the following from Michele:

"Today, at 10 am at the Court of Milan there was the first act of my legal battle against RCS Sport.

It was just a preliminary hearing, but it was very painful to find myself in front of the judge against my former company to which I have devoted my whole professional career.

I had worked for RCS for 14 years and, as you know, my employment was officially terminated last November, but everything has been done on the 1st of October 2014 when I was suspended and RCS hinted that I was responsible for the misappropriation of several million Euros.

Over the last 10 months I have always rejected any wrongdoing. I have a clear conscience and I know I had always worked with the greatest fidelity and diligence to grow in value and prestige those products and business that I have been entrusted with. And I always did it with excellent results much appreciated by both the market and RCS.

Even the day when the RCS Sport affair was exposing, on the 27th of September, RCS MediaGroup publicly gave me a renewed confidence and I was asked to take care of RCS Sport and the Giro during the upcoming investigation.

Then in the space of a weekend, RCS had a sudden change of direction. First the suspension then the public pillory. From that moment RCS big bosses have spoken to me no more. All of my contact attempts have fallen on deaf ears.

RCS managed the affair just using myself as a media scapegoat. They never gave an explanation of what happened. In 10 months there was only silence. Meanwhile, the defenestration of the Giro Director has had a growing international echo that slowly disintegrated my reputation. In parallel with my suspension RCS publicly announced the starting of an external audit. We never heard anything about that. The report by E&Y (Ernst & Young) that today was produced in court merely reconstructs the missing items, without even trying to understand how it was possible that more than 10 million Euros disappeared from the accounts of a listed company without anyone noticed anything abnormal.

I could accept losing my job that I loved, but I can not accept that RCS has dirtied my professional image built over many years of commitment and sacrifice, and that has always been based on honesty and respect.

In recent days I have read the statement of defense of RCS. They produced in court many documents in which my signature was obviously forged and which I promptly disowned. in the past months, when I asked RCS to show me documents and signatures they refused calling “pretentious” my request. This makes the affair even more shameful.

The RCS Sport affair is still under investigation by the prosecutor of Milan which I attended as a witness, Prosecutor has also my complaint for defamation against RCS.

Next hearing will be on the 1st of October 2014."

Content for the Italian Cycling Journal is now based upon contributions from readers. Please contribute. Stories about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, racing, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com.    

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