Legal aid. Ossigeno helps the authors of a book on trial for defamation

By a donation to cover legal expenses – The book “L’Affare Modigliani” investigates the lucrative trafficking of fake works of art 

OSSIGENO April 29th 2021 – The Free Legal Aid Office of Ossigeno (read more here) which works in collaboration with Media Defence, has made a monetary contribution to cover partially the legal expenses of Dania Mondini and Claudio Loiodice, authors of the investigative book entitled “The Modigliani affair: Plots, crimes, mysteries in the shadow of the most loved and well-paid Italian painter ever “, Chiarelettere, 2020, 328 pages. The book investigates the lucrative trafficking of fake works of art. Dania Mondini and Claudio Loiodice were sued for defamation by a person named in the book and have been sent for trial. The authors issued the following statement to Ossigeno.

We thank the president of Ossigeno per l’Informazione (Oxygen for Information), Alberto Spampinato, the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro and all the staff standing by us and the financial contribution (a gratuity to cover partially our legal expenses) in the face of the lawsuit filed by an art dealer.

This contribution helps us to not feel alone in this battle in which we are opposing the attempt by some of the characters mentioned in our investigative book “The Modigliani Affair” to gag us.

In our opinion, the lawsuit is absolutely specious and has followed a path that we consider anomalous and with a strangely rapid judicial procedure (closure of the investigation in twenty-four hours and indictment in just over three months including the suspension of proceedings due to the pandemic).

Moreover, we have been sued by a person who considered himself harmed as he was indicated by us as one of a number of untrustworthy art dealers. Our assessment was legitimate and timely – a free expression of critical judgement and the right to report, guaranteed by the Italian Constitution – considering that the plaintiff, who had been repeatedly investigated, tried and convicted for activities relating to his profession as a “Gallery Owner”, is even today still on trial for having on several occasions certified forgeries, including of the works of Amedeo Modigliani.

Today we find ourselves on trial for defamation and we are defending ourselves in the appropriate forums both on points of law and on the merits of the case. But we are also attacking. Not only have we reported the case to the Superior Council of the Judiciary and the competent prosecutor but we also have filed an allegation that the plaintiff has certified at least one false work by Modigliani.

In our case, the lawsuit was undoubtedly aimed at discrediting not only the authors, but the very structure of the book, with its meticulously documented contents, which brought to light for the first time the dark side of the trade in works of art, not only the world of fakes but the far more serious crime of international money laundering.

Against this nefarious universe authors and journalists can find themselves in serious difficulty and therefore the close moral and financial support of entities such as Ossigeno per l’Informazione is vital.

Dania Mondini and Claudio Loiodice

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