Italian authorities on Monday said a leading clan of the Italian ‘Ndrangheta mafia that made millions of Euros from gambling and the migrant reception business has been dismantled.
The authorities also announced the arrest of 68 people.
The anti-mafia prosecution office of the southern city of Catanzaro said in a statement that the members of the Arena crime family were accused of mafia membership, racketeering, false registration of assets, embezzlement, fraud and other tax crimes.
Investigations revealed that the mobsters had infiltrated for over a decade, all business activities connected to the C.A.R.A Sant’Anna migrant reception centre of Isola Capo Rizzuto, skimming public contracts for catering and other services.
Mafia involvement in the management of the facility had been suspected since 2013, after exposés from the media and politicians such as Laura Ferrara of the populist opposition Five Star Movement.
The businessman running the centre, Leonardo Sacco, was a well-connected figure who used to post Facebook pictures of himself alongside Pope Francis and Angelino Alfano, Italy’s former interior minister and now foreign minister.
It noted that Sacco was one of the people arrested, along with the local parish priest.
“The Arena gang also made “tens of millions of Euros” of illicit earnings from a near monopoly established through intimidation of the gaming and betting business in the area around the city of Crotone,’’ prosecutors said.
Report says the ‘Ndrangheta is based in Calabria, the region that forms the tip of Italy’s boot.
It is considered to be one of the most powerful organised crime groups in the world, and the leading smuggler of cocaine into Europe. (NAN)