Italy Arrests 63 Mafia Suspects, Including Public Officials
Italian authorities arrested 63 suspected members of the infamous ‘Ndrangheta, including 11 public officials who allegedly have, among other crimes, rigged public tenders worth some 150 million euro (US$167 million), including money coming from EU funds.
The ‘Ndrangheta is a notorious mafia group hailing from southern Italy’s Calabria region. It’s members have spread all over the world and have infiltrated local governments in Italy.
The suspects were charged with abuse of public funds, bribery, corruption and abuse of office, as well as for their role in a scheme aimed to hand over control of the region’s state tender contracts to the syndicate, a statement from the Guardia di Finanza said on Thursday.
The bust, known as Operation Waterfront, resulted in the seizure of 103 million Euro (US$114 million) worth of equity, including the financial assets of 36 companies and 45 individuals.
The operation was a result of a complex investigation that targeted “57 entrepreneurs belonging, in various capacities, to an illicit cartel made up of multiple companies, capable of winning - through auction disturbances aggravated by the mafia - at least 22 public tenders, in a systematic fraud against the Calabria Region and the European Community,” the statement said.
In recent years, the ‘Ndrangheta has overtaken the Sicilian Cosa Nostra as Italy’s most prominent mafia group. The ‘Ndrangheta’s illicit activities, which include everything from the trafficking of narcotics, arms and humans to extortion and money laundering are estimated to account for a full 3% of the Italian GDP.