Alex Constantine - January 28, 2012
The Italian government has recalled its consul general to Osaka after he was revealed to be the lead singer in a notorious fascist rock band.
Mario Vattani performing with his band Sotto Fascia Semplice (Under a Simple Fascist Banner)
By Julian Ryall in Tokyo
Telegraph/24 Jan 2012
Mario Vattani, 45, was captured on video at a rally organised by Casa Pound, an extremist right-wing group, in Rome in May. Casa Pound has gained notoriety in Italy since one of its members shot dead two Senegalese street vendors in Florence in December before turning the gun on himself.
The diplomat was filmed with his sleeves rolled up to reveal tattoos as he fronted his band, Sotto Fascia Semplice (Under a Simple Fascist Banner.) He was also filmed praising the "bandiera near," the black flag symbol that is a notorious fascist symbol, and giving the stiff-arm fascist salute.
"Mr Vattani is in Rome and we do not know when he will be back," said a spokesman for the Italian Consul General in Osaka. "We do not have any information other than what we see in the news and we are waiting to hear more."
The Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome has refused to comment on reports that Mr Vattani has been summoned to appear before a disciplinary hearing.
The ministry "does not express any comment in relation to reports today by news agencies relating to the disciplinary case against the Consul-General in Osaka, Mario Vattani," it said in a statement released on Sunday. The statement added that Giuliomaria Terzi di Sant'Agata, the foreign minister, had on December 29 deferred Vattani's case to the disciplinary commission and instructed it to proceed "rapidly" in the case.
The ministry responded after the footage of Vattani appeared on the internet. At one point in the gathering, he is heard shouting in favour of the Italian Social Republic, a regime set up with the help of Nazi Germany in the closing days of World War II by Benito Mussolini.Many of the crowd are also shown in the footage giving the fascist salute.
Mr Vattani is the son of a top foreign ministry official and served between 2008 and 2011 as diplomatic aide to Gianni Alemanno, the mayor of Rome and a member of the now-defunct Post-fascist Italian Social Movement.