The homes of three singing teachers were searched by police, who discovered over €100,000 in cash bribes by prospective students
Founded in 1807, the Milan G. Verdi Conservatoire is the largest music school in Italy, comprising 1,800 students from around the world and over 200 teachers. With a highly competitive admission, the school accepts one-third of its applicants to over 100 courses each year.
Allegations against several of the conservatory’s singing professors surfaced from recent reports sent by the Lodi Police Station that suspected them of accepting large sums from students to provide guaranteed entry to academic courses in 2021. The case is currently under investigation by the Milan Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Last week, seven teachers’ and 10 students’ homes and lockers at the school were raided by Italian law enforcement officers, who found a total of €110,000 in cash — including €50,000 from the home of a single professor. Other details revealing bribery were also found on devices and in various documents.
From the 17 who were raided, five suspects are under further evaluation — two students who gained entry to the conservatory during the June 2021 admissions when the pandemic called for video submissions; and three teachers on the selection committee, presumed to have accepted bribes to admit the two.
Only one of the teachers under scrutiny was a former staff member. According to Corriere della Sera news, a lawyer defending a teacher stated: “My client declares to be totally extraneous to these accusations…she immediately handed over the telephones and computers subject to seizure, and [cooperated with] the investigators.”
“The Milan Conservatory is the injured party in this affair and is at the side of the judiciary to ascertain the facts; we have already provided the investigators with the materials relating to the entrance exams and will continue to provide the most complete collaboration,” wrote Milan Conservatory’s president Raffaello Vignali and director Massimiliano Baggio in a press release. “We will follow the development of the investigations and evaluate all possible actions to protect our institution.
“In any case, we will also immediately strengthen the internal procedures aimed at preventing such phenomena both in the admission phase and in the assessment of students in disciplines at risk of incorrect behavior,” they continued. “If the investigations confirm the hypotheses of the investigators and a trial is reached, the Conservatory intends to bring a civil action.”