The banker of bankers, the silent puppeteer of Italian capitalism, the ruthless priest of great capital. When Enrico Cuccia died, just under seven years ago, they were just some of the titles reserved by newspapers for the founder of Mediobanca, the protagonist of half a century of Italian economy and finance. A small, thin and arched man who could be met in the center of Milan in the morning, intent on walking across Piazza della Scala on the way to Via Filodrammatici. But if confidentiality, enormous power, and an almost monastic lifestyle are attributes that are now an integral part of Cuccia’s somewhat stereotyped portrait, no less surprising to find out how, when he died on June 23, 2000, personal property of the ninety-two-year-old banker ran out into a bank account. The one opened at the headquarters of the then Comit, the Italian Commercial Bank of its master Raffaele Mattioli and the first steps of his long career.
The account in Piazza Scala and the remuneration (not withdrawn) from honorary president
A current account with a deposit of just over 150 thousand euros. Indeed, to be precise, with cash of 303 million and 305 thousand lire. Nothing else, according to the document traced to the Revenue Agency, the same delivered by the heirs a few weeks later to the inheritance register office in via Ugo Bassi in Milan, accompanied by stamp duty for thirty thousand lire. The best banker in Europe – as his friend and patron of Lazard, Andre Meyer said to Cesare Merzagora – did not leave a will. There would have been no need, given that officially, beyond the Comit current account, there was no inheritance to be divided, perhaps consisting of real estate, shares, securities and various assets. The details of Cuccia’s assets are not entirely accessible and, as can be seen from the documents to the Revenue Agency, they are jealously kept in the studio of the trusted accountants of the family, the Milanese one of the Dattilo (…). But beyond the wall that has always surrounded the events of the creators and followers of the Milanese bank, the cards available speak. For 1999, the year before his death, Cuccia declared to the taxman that he received around 350 million lire net. Income deriving for more than half especially from the private pension fund, and for the rest from the INPS pension and from what was recognized by Mediobanca by virtue of the position of honorary president: or 163 million lire, gross of withholding taxes. About this compensation, the Mediobanca officials of the time remember that the elderly banker never wanted to cash it. So much so that from his secretariat, not being able to arrange otherwise, one fine day it was decided, with some embarrassment, to credit it automatically, almost secretly.
The villa on the lake
From what can be found in the Revenue Agency documents, Enrico Cuccia has left nothing to his heirs that goes beyond the possibilities of a wealthy bourgeois family. From the documents it appears that the famous villa with twenty rooms and five thousand meters of Meina garden, on Lake Maggiore, the place where the banker was buried (and where the body was stolen in 2001 and then relocated) was not included in its availability. The home owned by the three children for more than ten years, for a third each, and actually the inheritance left by his wife, Mrs. Idea Nuova Socialista, one of the daughters of the founder of the IRI Alberto Beneduce (the other two were called Proletarian Victory and Free Italy). Disappeared in October 1996, also very confidential, she was portrayed by pure chance just before her death in a photo shoot walking in Rome and in the company of her husband. Enrico Cuccia’s three children – Aurea (the eldest daughter who passed away last March 2020), Silvia and Pietro Beniamino – all live in Milan, where they are owners of apartments in residential areas, near the ex Fiera and Brera. Her daughter Silvia worked as a mathematics teacher, while Beniamino joined the board of directors of a pharmaceutical company in the province of Como since January of last year. In short, as Antonio Maccanico wrote in 2003 (at the top of Mediobanca at the time of the privatization of 87-88 and nephew of another president, such as Adolfo Tino) perhaps it is really true that the money for Cuccia was only a means, and that the society of the Enron scandal would not have understood it, would have probably marginalized it. Not only the society of the Enron scandal, but perhaps also that of the lavish stock-options, the superbonus and the multi-million dollar coupons.