The 5 Star Movement is experiencing a political earthquake. Its founder, the comedian Beppe Grillo, is investigated by the Milan prosecutor’s office for a matter of money. The alleged crime is “illicit influence peddling” for advertising contracts signed by the Moby shipping company with the Grillo blog, the M5E reference website, for a total amount of 240.000 euros, between 2018 and 2019. In exchange for these payments, the parliamentarians of the 5 Star Movement had to guide some regulations in Parliament in favor of the Moby navigation company. In short, Grillo was willing to favor the shipowner Vincenzo Onorato, also investigated by the prosecution, so that the M5E parliamentarians would translate the initiatives suggested by the industrialist into bills.
The 5 Star Movement, which was born in 2009 making the motto «onestà, onestà» (honesty) its essential flag, its reason for being, and ferociously attacking lobbyists or pressure groups, today discovers that its founder has acted like any ‘lobbyist’ In a way, seeing Grillo under investigation by the justice system marks the end of a political project. Along the way, the comedian and his Movement left the indelible marks of their hypocrisy. For example, in 2016, the pressure of the 5 Star Movement, managed to get the then minister Federica Guidi resigned when she was investigated precisely for “illicit influence peddling”. Not satisfied with this resignation, the 5 Star Movement presented a motion of censure against the entire government. “Everybody knew! Everyone home!” was the cry that was collected on Beppe Grillo’s blog.
The “preferred” crime of the Movement
In reality, establishing where the crime lies in “influence peddling” is not an easy task, because the economy, politics, and the media often intersect; These are related fields that can range from lobbies, buying and selling favors, favoritism, sympathy, etc. The curious and striking thing is that it was precisely the 5 Star Movement, being Minister of Justice Alfonso Bonafede, which promoted the approval of a rather indecipherable law with the inclusion of influence peddling as a “preferred” crime.
“The corrupt should go to jail”, maintained the grillino minister Bonafede. Now the comedian Grillo is under investigation for an alleged crime of corruption. It is an almost unprovable criminal hypothesis (only in one case out of three is a conviction reached), with an investigation that can last a long time, for years, just as Minister Bonafede wanted in his nebulous law that contemplates influence peddling. But, ironies of fate, the comedian Grillo, who founded the Movement with the battle against corruption and influence peddling, is today a victim of grillismo, persecuted by the same mechanisms he set up, “caught” as a vulgar politician of those that he filled with insults in his golden days, when he filled the squares of Italy in electoral campaign. Now a circle is closed.