FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 15, 2008
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH ZWILLING ON REPORTS
CONCERNING RAFFAELLO FOLLIERI
Joseph Zwilling, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of New York, issued the following statement today in response to a claim made by Flora Edwards, attorney for Raffaello Follieri, as reported in the New York Daily News of October 15, 2008.
“Today’s New York Daily News reports that an attorney for Raffaello Follieri, who pled guilty to wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy, has claimed that Mr. Follieri had longstanding ties to the Catholic Church. As one piece of evidence, the attorney submitted a photograph of Edward Cardinal Egan with two individuals who are alleged to be Follieri’s parents.
“I repeat what I said in June, and countless times since then. At two receptions years ago, Follieri introduced himself to the Cardinal. The Cardinal has never had a conversation or any other involvement with him apart from this.
“Despite this attorney’s claims, and the false claims made in a recent edition of Vanity Fair magazine, Cardinal Egan does not know Follieri, has never had any relationship or involvement with him of any sort, and has not attended events with him.
"As for the photograph submitted by the attorney, Cardinal Egan has his picture taken countless times per day, at receptions, dinners, parades, and other public events. There is no way for the Archdiocese to know if the two individuals in the photographs are indeed Follieri’s parents. Because we have never seen the photograph in question, there is not even any way to guess when such a picture might have been taken.”