Verify Installation

Senior WHO official under investigation in Italy denies lying to prosecutors.

By Philippe Mottaz - The Geneva Observer

May 12, 2021


This piece was initially published in the May 12 edition of The Geneva Observer Briefing. To receive our Briefing directly in your mailbox, click here.


Ranieri Guerra, WHO’s senior adviser under investigation in Bergamo, has strongly denied lying to the Italian prosecutors investigating the withdrawal of a WHO report on Italy’s preparedness for the pandemic. His defence is contained in a 40-page response and 495-page annex obtained by The G|O. His lawyer states that the prosecutors’ allegations against his client paint a picture that is at variance with the reality of the facts and are above all “imprecise and don’t adhere to the reconstruction of the events that Dr. Guerra provided” when he testified last November.

The withdrawal of the report, after a few hours, from WHO’s website occurred a year ago exactly (May 13). As readers of The G|O know, at this point there remain conflicting accounts as to why it was pulled. One of the most debated questions is the possible role that WHO’s D-G Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus might have had in suppressing the report, after a May 14 WhatsApp exchange from Ranieri Guerra surfaced, containing the message: “In the end I went to Tedros and got the document removed.” In his defense, Guerra disputes the authenticity of the partial WhatsApp, also claiming the messages lack the necessary context to be understood and that, “Regardless, the content has no relevance with respect to the declared investigation.”

In an email response to The Geneva Observer, WHO maintains that Dr Tedros “was not himself involved in the development, publishing, or withdrawal of the report”—a statement that Francesco Zambon, the former WHO researcher turned whistleblower who coordinated the writing of the report, continues to dispute.

“What did Tedros know? Everything,” Zambon writes in Il Pesce Picolo, his book to be published tomorrow, May 13, date of the posting of the report on WHO’s website…