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Italy, Germany arrest over 100 in anti-mafia drive
January 10, 2018
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Rome: Italian and German police have rounded up more than 100 suspects in a vast anti-mafia operation in the two countries, cracking open a crime empire that grew rich on bread, wine and funeral services.

Some 50 million euros ($60 million) worth of property was also seized in the joint operation against the Ndrangheta mafia, Italy’s police and Eurojust said on Tuesday.

The powerful organised crime syndicate based in southern Italy had infiltrated businesses across Italy as well as in Germany.

Many of the 160 arrest warrants — issued for mafia association, attempted murder, money laundering, extortion and illegal weapons — targeted suspects already serving time for other crimes.

The crime ring’s “holding company,” based in the town of Ciro in Calabria, was led from his cell by Giuseppe Farao, a 70-year-old boss already sentenced to life imprisonment but still issuing instructions to his family and associates.

Farao and sons had fingers in several pies in Italy: they controlled bakeries, vineyards and olive groves, and forced restaurants and hotels to use their products. They had also infiltrated funeral homes, laundrettes, plastic recycling plants and shipyards, with a dozen local elected officials including mayors implicated in fraudulent public tenders.

The group was also involved in tourism and gambling businesses, as well as reception centres for migrants.

Wiretaps revealed the gang had expanded to Germany and was intimidating “owners of restaurants, pizza and ice cream parlours, forcing them to buy products from the companies controlled by the criminal group.”

Agence France-Presse

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