Tag Archives: italy

Why the mafia are taking care of everyone’s business

Organised crime is already giving food parcels to the poor in Italy and Mexico. For the cartels and syndicates, this crisis is an opportunity

Pestilence presents a moment of great opportunity for many businesses.

Consider the speed at which contracts are put out to tender to meet extraordinary needs. Consider the ability to move goods and money without all the normal checks or legal and bureaucratic protocols. Plague is a boon for the commercial class.

The art of profit is based on exploiting need, and no one has perfected that dark art better than organised crime. The Covid-19 pandemic is already demonstrating this. With their usual business acumen, criminal organisations have, in recent decades, invested in a number of companies that have turned out to be very relevant to the present crisis: multi-service businesses (catering, cleaning or disinfection), industrial laundries, transport, funeral homes, waste collection, food distribution – and the health. All of these sectors have become fundamental to our survival over recent weeks, and will probably remain so for a good while.

In Italy, police have already raised the alarm about mafia cartels’ investment in the production and distribution of “epidemic kits”, comprising masks, hand sanitiser and latex gloves. These products are today almost impossible to find, and the sudden overwhelming demand (surely destined to continue over the coming months) has caused prices to skyrocket.

For the Calabrian mafia, the ’ndrangheta, this would be familiar territory: for years it made capital investments in the pharmaceutical and healthcare products sectors. In March 2016, it was revealed that the ’ndrangheta had been working aggressively to establish itself in medical and pharmaceutical industries across Lombardy – which became Italy’s Covid-19 “Ground Zero” – even dispatching cartel operatives and their relatives to qualify in medicine, nursing and pharmacology.

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Mafia-linked funeral investigated amid coronavirus lockdown

Sicilian procession for brother of Cosa Nostra boss Luigi Sparacio claimed to have broken Covid-19 safety laws

Italian prosecutors are investigating the funeral of the brother of a former Sicilian mafia boss for allegedly breaching Italy’s coronavirus lockdown.

Photographs showed a funeral procession in Messina attended by dozens of people. Family and friends gathered on the streets to accompany the coffin carrying Rosario Sparacio, 70, the older brother of Luigi Sparacio, who was considered one of the most important heads of the Cosa Nostra in the 1990s and who eventually turned supergrass.

The news, first reported by the newspaper La Gazzetta del Sud, has sparked a row in Italy where since the beginning of March a government decree has banned all religious gatherings, including funerals and weddings, in order to contain the spread of Covid-19.

In the cities hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, coffins are awaiting burial, held in churches, and the corpses of those who have died at home are being kept in sealed rooms.

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Mafia distributes food to Italy’s struggling residents

Organised crime groups offer support to quarantined families who have run out of cash

As Italy struggles to pull its economy through the coronavirus crisis, the Mafia is gaining local support by distributing free food to poor families in quarantine who have run out of cash, authorities have warned.

In recent weeks, videos have surfaced of known Mafia gangs delivering essential goods to Italians hit hard by the coronavirus emergency across the poorest southern regions of Campania, Calabria, Sicily and Puglia, as tensions rise across the country.

“For over a month, shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs have been closed,” Nicola Gratteri, antimafia investigator and head of the prosecutor’s office in Catanzaro, told the Guardian. “Millions of people work in the grey economy, which means that they haven’t received any income in more than a month and have no idea when they might return to work. The government is issuing so-called shopping vouchers to support people. If the state doesn’t step in

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Pandemic Puts the Screws to New York’s Mafia. In Italy, the Mobs Are Thriving.

Traditional organized-crime rackets like betting and construction are bleeding the New York mafia dry. But in Italy, the mobs are stronger than ever.

ROME—The New York mafia is taking a hit from the novel coronavirus pandemic after many of its money-making outlets have been shuttered.

Gambling halls, sporting events, and construction projects have long fed the Empire State gangs, but now that they are taking an “historic” blow, a law-enforcement source told the New York Post. “There’s never been a time when they weren’t making money through gambling,” the source said.

The American mafia families are also losing out on the extortion racket after restaurants and other entities close their doors under New York City’s “shelter in place” order. A halt to non-essential construction jobs, which includes transportation and port entry, has also put a dent in the U.S. mob’s profits.

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Mafia primed to feast on Italy’s virus devastation

As Italy mourns thousands of coronavirus dead, and survivors brace for life in an economic wasteland, one rung of society looks to win big: organised crime.

“The Italian mafia can turn threats into opportunities,” top government anti-mafia investigator Giuseppe Governale told AFP.

Over 10,000 people have died in Italy of the flu-like disease, which has forced the country into a lockdown that is devastating the eurozone’s third largest economy.

From the historic Cosa Nostra in Sicily, to the immensely powerful ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria and trigger-happy Camorra in Naples, Italy’s mafias were “caught on the back foot (by the virus), but are now organising themselves,” Governale said.

The Economist Intelligence Unit said Thursday it expected Italy’s GDP to contract by a colossal seven percent for the year. Italian experts say some 65 percent of Italian small and medium businesses are at risk of bankruptcy.

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