Journalist Profile

Leo Sisti

Leo Sisti, Italy, holds a law degree from the University of Pavia and is a contributing reporter for the Italian newsweekly L'Espresso, where he has been a special correspondent and in more than 30 years has investigated corruption, financial crimes, mafia, politics, terrorism and organized crime.

Sisti covered the so-called ‘clean hands’ investigation which lasted six years and was run by former prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro and other Milan magistrates to stamp out corruption in Italy. For his investigations into ‘clean hands’ cases, in 1996 Sisti was awarded the prestigious ‘Il Premiolino’ journalism prize. He revealed first that the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s family company owned the offshore company used to bribe the late former Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi. 
Sisti is also a contributing reporter of the new Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano since its foundation on September 2009, writing frequently on judicial matters.

Sisti has co-authored seven books, two of which were on bankruptcy-related scandals involving the Vatican: Il Banco paga (The Bank pays, 1982); Il caso Marcinkus (The Marcinkus case, 1991). The other five books were: La morte del Maestro (The Maestros’ death, 1987); Les Nouveaux Reseaux de la Corruption, in French (The new network of corruption, with Fabrizio Calvi, 1995); L’Intoccabile - Berlusconi e Cosa Nostra (The Untouchable - Berlusconi and Cosa Nostra, 1997), on the ties between former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Cosa Nostra; Piedi puliti (Clean Feet, which investigated corruption in Italian soccer”, 1998); and the most recent Processo all’italiana (Trial Italian style), published on April 2012 and written with Piercamillo Davigo, a famous judge of the “clean hands” investigation. Trial Italian style is a critical account into the Italian justice system.

In 2004 Sisti wrote his first solo book examining Al Qaeda’s financial dealings, entitled Hunting Bin Laden -The sheik of terror. In the summer of 2007 Sisti published a book on the Sicilian mafia, L'isola del Tesoro (The Treasure Island) an account of how an Italian politician helped the “Corleonese” boss of bosses Bernardo Provenzano, captured in 2006 after 43 years on the run, build his criminal career.


Sisti joined the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in 2000. With ICIJ he worked on cross-border investigations including the original tobacco series that uncovered tobacco companies linked to criminal organizations; “Collateral Damage”, a project that tracked military aid after 9/11; “Tobacco Underground”, and investigation into the booming trade of smuggling cigarettes; and “Looting the Seas”, an investigation into the black market of Atlantic bluefin tuna.  “Collateral Damage”, “Tobacco Underground” and “Looting the Seas” were awarded Investigative Reporters and Editors prizes in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The latest two projects were awarded the “Tom Renner Award”. 

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