Quantcast
Connect with us

Europe suffering from Italian mafia ‘cancer’, experts warn

Published

on

International anti-mafia stings may have increased in recent months, but Italian organised crime groups constitute a social and economic “cancer” that the world seems to underestimate, experts say.

The most high-profile recent operation saw 90 mobsters from the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta mafia arrested in December in six different countries, in raids involving hundreds of police officers.

While the notorious Sicilian Cosa Nostra is well known to be present in Australia, Canada and the United States, other Italian mafias have been globalising too — with Europe Union countries among their top destinations.

The three main groups — Cosa Nostra, the Neapolitan Camorra and the ‘Ndrangheta — are “among the most threatening in Europe” because of the global reach of their criminal operations, according to Europol.

Their power lies in their control and exploitation of territory and community, including installing allies in administrative positions even in places far from the territories they control, the European police agency said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Italian mafia-hunting expert Cristiano Tomassi cited cases of entire neighbourhoods in European cities which are under the control of organised crime groups, and are having the life strangled out of them.

“Why does it seem like nothing’s going on in those areas? Because the mafia is in control, but it is not a healthy control, it is like a cancer that progresses. And where there is a cancer there is no more life,” Tomassi told AFP.

“Petty crime no longer exists, but neither does the healthy economy. It’s true that weeds no longer grow, but grass doesn’t grow either,” said Tomassi, a police colonel and organised crime analyst with anti-mafia investigative authority DIA.

ADVERTISEMENT

– Mobsters ‘think like economists’ –

The powerful Italian mafias make their money in large-scale drug trafficking and money laundering, as well as currency and goods counterfeiting, and the trafficking of toxic waste.

dpa/AFP/File / Oliver Berg Italian mafia-hunting expert Cristiano Tomassi cited cases of entire neighbourhoods in European cities which are under the control of organised crime groups, and are having the life strangled out of them 

They wreak heavy damage on local and national economies, according to the latest DIA report: They “pollute financial and credit channels, disrupt competition and the markets (and) promote black market activities and tax evasion.”

ADVERTISEMENT

In places suffering an economic crisis — such as Europe — the mafia infiltrates even more easily, for “whoever brings in new money can initially be seen as a resource,” says Tomassi, referring to the mob’s “almost unlimited” financial means.

Tomassi and his colleagues at the authority’s imposing offices on the outskirts of Rome have been forced in recent years to expand their scope beyond Germany, France and Spain to eastern European countries.

Assets worth 250 million euros ($280 million) were seized in a recent operation in Romania, where the mafia had got its claws into everything from construction companies to hundreds of apartments and even spas, Tomassi said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Mafiosi reason like economists: growth rates and development prospects are higher (in Eastern EU countries) even than those in prosperous Germany,” he said.

– ‘A choice for life’ –

Investigators have uncovered mob activity in Slovakia, for example, where the ‘Ndrangheta is attempting a favourite mafia pastime — syphoning off European Union grants, he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

Vast sums are also to be made through illegal gambling, and the mob has been moving its operations in that sector to Austria, the Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Romania and Spain, “where the law is most advantageous in terms of tax”.

Drawing heavily on DIA expertise, the European Commission set up a new EU taskforce at the end of last year aimed primarily at fighting Italian organised crime groups, as well as Eurasian and Albanian criminal networks.

Experts know well that the issues key to understanding the mafia — the concepts of family, power, respect and territory — also make their clans difficult to infiltrate.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s a choice for life. You decide to embrace a lifestyle, an idea, and that’s the difference between the mafia and ‘simple’ organised crime,” Tomassi said.

“When you’re a mafioso, it’s forever”.


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Jeffrey Epstein denied bail — will stay in jail until sex trafficking trial

Published

on

A federal judge denied bail bail to Jeffrey Epstein after his arrest on sex-trafficking charges.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman heard arguments from prosecutors and Epstein's attorneys Monday but waited until Thursday to issue his ruling.

Prosecutors argued that Epstein, who has pleaded not guilty, should remain jailed because he's a danger to the public and a flight risk, pointing to a phony passport listing a Saudi Arabia residence that was found in a safe at his New York home, along with cash and diamonds.

Defense lawyers insisted Epstein would not flee the country and asked for him to be released on house arrest at his Manhattan townhouse and equipped with GPS monitoring.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

The FBI believes Donald Trump and Hope Hicks discussed silencing Stormy Daniels with payments

Published

on

New court documents released from the Southern District of New York revealed that Hope Hicks and Donald Trump were both involved with the hush-money payments given to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The information released were documents related to the search warrant for the campaign finance violations that former Trump fixer Michael Cohen pled guilty to. They were supposed to be fully unredacted, however, dozens of pages and names remain redacted.

"The government has effectively concluded its investigation of (1) who, besides Michael Cohen, was involved in and may be criminally liable for the two campaign finance violations to which Cohen pled guilty [redacted]; and (2) whether certain individuals, [redacted], made false statements gave false testimony or otherwise obstructed justice in connection with this investigation [redacted]," the documents revealed.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Shocking video: White man attacks black woman after traffic accident — then pulls a gun on her and bystanders

Published

on

A Lockport, New York man has been charged with throwing an African-American Muslim woman to the ground before drawing his gun and pointing it at her and others.

According to WBFO, Jeffrey Calhoun is being charged with attempted robbery in the first degree, menacing in the second degree and harassment in the second degree after the incident occurred during a small traffic incident. The entire encounter was captured on a cell phone video showing Calhoun fly into a rage.

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image