Italian terror suspect who ‘spied for MI6’ was given safe haven in UK
An Italian neo-fascist alleged to have spied for MI6 was given safe haven in Britain after a request for his extradition to Italy to face terror charges was refused.
Roberto Fiore, who went on to set up a lucrative language school in London, was convicted of armed subversion in his absence.
Fiore, who is currently on trial accused of leading an attack on a trade union headquarters in Rome, spent nearly 20 years in London after fleeing Italy in September 1980, following the bombing of Bologna rail station, which killed 85 people and injured 200 more.
He was later tried in his absence in Italy and although acquitted of involvement in the bombing he received a five-and-a-half-year jail sentence for armed conspiracy and subversive association.
A UK court had turned down an extradition request for Fiore to face trial in Italy and the British government refused to deport him.
He was however able to return to Italy in 1999 after his conviction was “timed out” under the country’s statute of limitations.
While in Britain, Fiore, who now leads Italy’s far-Right Forza Nuova (New Force) party, is alleged to have lived a shadowy double life.
During his time in London he worked as a cleaner and also ran a language school near Waterloo Station and an apparently lucrative accommodation agency.
Fiore, an associate of Nick Griffin, former leader of the far-Right British National Party, also went on to help establish the Hampshire-based Saint George Educational Trust, which he registered with the Charity Commission in 1995.
The trust, set up for “the advancement of the Catholic religion”, is now under investigation by the commission over its “associations with an extreme Right-wing organisation”.
The commission said “concerns have been identified in relation to activities carried out by the charity that do not appear to further its religious purposes, including material it had posted online and political activity or campaigning”.
‘Intelligence source’ allegations
During his time here it is alleged that Fiore, now aged 63, also acted as a source for the British intelligence services.
The report of the European Parliament’s 1991 Committee of Inquiry into Racism and Xenophobia laid out claims that while in London Fiore was recruited by MI6 – who allegedly used him to gather intelligence about terrorist training camps in Lebanon. Fiore denied the claims, which were also raised in the House of Commons.
Now it can be revealed that much of his activity in the UK will remain secret after Whitehall officials refused to release his intelligence files.
The Home Office has said it will not publish its file dealing with Italy’s extradition request for Fiore and three other members of the far-Right Terza Posizione (Third Position) party, despite the passage of nearly 40 years.
The secret documents are understood to refer to events between 1981 and 1989, and should normally have been made public under the 30-year secrecy rule on access to public records.
‘Compromise national security’
But in a response to a Freedom of Information request from Italian journalist Sabrina Provenzani and the UK website The Citizens, Home Office officials stated that releasing the information could compromise national security.
In their letter about file HO 306/269, which is headed “Extradition Case, Terza Posizione members Roberto Fiore, Marcello De Angelis, Stefano Tiraboschi, and Massimo Morsello”, officials stated: “In the circumstances of this case it is not appropriate to provide any information that would undermine national security or reveal the extent of any involvement of the security bodies.”
Fiore is currently on trial over allegations he led an assault on the headquarters of the Italian CGIL trade union federation in Rome, in October 2021, when an anti-Covid Green Pass protest was hijacked by members of his far-Right Forza Nuova group. Prosecutors have requested a long sentence for Fiore and other alleged ringleaders.
His activities in Britain resurfaced during the recent trial of far-Right militant Paolo Bellini for his part in the Bologna station bombing.
Sentenced to life
Bellini was sentenced to life with a year’s solitary confinement in April 2022, after Bologna’s Court of Assizes found the 68-year-old guilty of transporting to the station part if not all of the 23kg of explosives, including 5kg of TNT, used in the devastating attack.
During the trial, an Interpol document was produced stating that another far-Right activist, Gilberto Cavallini, now 70, had shared a flat in London with Fiore.
The document, dated Feb 10 1984, was sent by the London branch of Interpol to its counterparts in Rome following its investigations into Cavallini, who was eventually sentenced to life for his part in the Bologna station bombing and had links with the Italian military secret service.
It detailed that in April 1981 Cavallini and Fiore shared a flat in Tabor Road, Hammersmith, under false names, with Fiore working as a cleaner at the Lansdale Club and Cavallini at the Royal Over-Seas League, in St James’s.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not comment on FOI requests that were refused on the basis of national security.”