Italian Government blocks Steve Bannon’s plans to turn a medieval monastery into a far-right training academy near Rome

  • Italy’s populist government is blocking plans by former White House adviser Steve Bannon to set up an academy for future far-right leaders  
  • Bannon is paying the €100,000-a-year rent on the Certosa di Trisulti in Rome 
  • Italy’s cultural heritage ministry announced that it would revoke a lease granted to Bannon after reports of fraud in the competitive tender process 
  • Bannon previously responded to the reports as  ‘dust being kicked up by the left’

The Italian government has scuppered Steve Bannon’s plans to transform a medieval monastery near Rome into a training academy for the far-right.

Bannon is paying the €100,000-a-year rent on a former Carthusian monastery, the Certosa di Trisulti, which belongs to the state, in the mountains east of Rome.  

Now Italy’s cultural heritage ministry announced on Friday that it would revoke a lease granted to Bannon after reports of fraud in the competitive tender process.

Plans by Steve Bannon, (pictured), to transform a medieval monastery near Rome into a training academy for the far-right have been blocked by the Italian Government 

Bannon is paying the €100,000-a-year rent on a former Carthusian monastery, the Certosa di Trisulti, (pictured), which belongs to the state

The Italian state allowed the conservative Catholic organization Dignitatis Humanae Institute(DHI) to use the building early last year.  

The former Breitbart chief and aide to Donald Trump is a trustee of the institute, and planned to convert the space into a where students would learn philosophy, theology, history, and economics, and receive political training from Bannon.

Italian newspaper Repubblica reported earlier this month that a letter used to guarantee the lease was forged. 

The letter had the signature of an employee of Danish bank Jyske, but the bank said that employee hadn’t worked there for years, and called the letter fraudulent.

Bannon, meanwhile, claimed the letter was ‘totally legitimate.’ He added:  ‘All of this stuff is just dust being kicked up by the left,’  Bannon was reported by Quartz as saying.   

Italy’s culture ministry said the institute has not paid concession fees and failed to do maintenance work on the monastery. The monastery is perched on a mountain near the town of Collepardo in Frosinone province southeast of Rome.

An image taken in pay shows a general view of the Trisulti Monastery Certosa di Trisulti in Collepardo

The Italian state allowed the conservative Catholic organization Dignitatis Humanae Institute(DHI) to use the building early last year. Bannon is a trustee of the institute

‘It’s not about political opinions but respect for the law,’ Gianluca Vacca, an undersecretary at the ministry, said about kicking the institute out of the monastery. “Thus proceeding with the revocation was a duty.’

Benjamin Harnwell, the institute’s founder, rejected the ministry’s claims and said his think-tank will fight to stay in the monastery. 

‘He vowed his institute will contest the ‘illegitimate maneuver with every resource at its disposal no matter how many years it takes.’

Bannon is close to right-wing Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has become Italy’s most prominent politician

In a statment he told Quartz: ‘The DHI will contest this illegitimate maneuver with every resource at its disposal no matter how many years it takes. And we will win.’

He claimed that politics was behind the decision to revoke the lease.

Bannon is close to right-wing Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has become Italy’s most prominent politician after his anti-migrant party, the League, formed a coalition government last year with the populist, left-leaning 5-Star Movement. 

But the relationship between the two ruling parties has become rocky. A member of the 5-Star Movement runs Italy’s culture ministry.

Plans to create the school for future populist leaders have been met by protests and local opposition.

Opening the academy has been part of Bannon’s plans to further spread his nationalist, populist ring-wing politics across Europe.

 

 

 

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