Thursday

30th Mar 2017

Immigration centres are new cash cow for Italian mafia

Italian police on Wednesday (3 December) uncovered a mafia network in Rome said to have extorted millions of euros from programmes designed to help the city’s most vulnerable.

Thirty-seven people have already been arrested in a scheme that targeted immigrants and the Roma.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“We have identified the criminal organisation that we call Mafia Capitale, which is Roman, without links to other southern mafias, but uses mafia methods,” announced Rome’s chief prosecutor.

The scam has reached the highest echelons of local government.

Italian news agency Ansa reports Rome’s former centre-right mayor Gianni Alemanno is among the 100 or so under investigation.

Alemanno, who was Rome’s mayor until June last year, allegedly received some €40,000 in kick-backs from a mob group spearheaded by Massimo Carminati, a former member of the far-right terror group NAR

Alemanno denies any wrongdoing.

But magistrates has so far seized some €200 million in assets in a racket that largely targeted immigrant and refugee reception centres.

The more traditional cash cows of the criminal gang like drugs, waste management, recycling and parks maintenance, were no longer seen as profitable.

"Do you have any idea how much I make on these immigrants?," Carminati’s second-in-command, Salvatore Buzzi, was overhead saying in a 2013 wire-tapped recording.

"We closed this year with a turnover of €40 million but ... our profits all came from the gypsies [Roma people], on the housing emergency and on the immigrants," he says.

"Drug trafficking is not as profitable,” he said, adding that they didn’t make any money in other sectors.

Ansa reports a cabinet secretary under the former center-left mayor Walter Veltroni coordinated the immigration scheme with the mob group.

The probe doesn’t end there.

According to the Independent newspaper, Rome’s very own anti-corruption tsar, Italo Walter Politano, may have also been implicated.

Rome’s current centre-left mayor Ignazio Marino had appointed Politano to the post.

Italy accommodation standards plummet

Accommodation standards for asylum seekers in Italy has steadily worsened over the recent years, according to a special commission in the Italian senate for protection and promotion of human rights.

“In Italy from 2011 a progressive deterioration of the accommodation standards for asylum seekers has been registered, which has worsened since 2012 and 2013,” it noted last year.

The conditions are so bad that administrative courts in Germany have suspended transfers to Italy “owing notably to the risk of homelessness and a life below minimum subsistence standards,” according to a report by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe.

Italy, for its part, also has no structural legislation on reception conditions and no uniform reception system.

Some 28,000 first instance asylum applicants were made in Italy last year.

The latest spate of mafia revelations comes on the heel of an annual corruption perception index report by Transparency International.

Among the EU countries, Italy ranks last and on par with Greece, Romania and Bulgaria.

Investigation

How the Italian mafia found a Dutch home

One of the biggest mafia trials in Europe in recent years is about to end. Members of the Crupi clan are accused of smuggling vast amounts of cocaine from South America to Italy, using the Netherlands as their main hub.

EU trying to salvage US deal on data privacy

Privacy safeguards for EU citizens' personal data that is sent to the United States remains exposed to abuse, due to the lack of oversight and the shift towards increased surveillance under president Trump.

Thirteen states join EU prosecutor's office

Justice ministers from 13 EU member states have confirmed they will take part in the European Public Prosecutor's Office with another three set to join in the next few days.

LuxLeaks forces discussion on EU-wide protections

LuxLeak whistleblower Antoine Deltour is urging justice ministers to help put in place rules to protect people across Europe who leak confidential information for the public good.

News in Brief

  1. Coalition talks leader expects Dutch government by summer
  2. EU commission allows ex-member Hill to join law firm
  3. Reuters: Greece and lenders move closer to deal
  4. Italy: Le Pen win would mean 'permanent political risk'
  5. Danish parliament misinformed on Nord Stream 1
  6. UK delivered its Article 50 letter to the EU
  7. Support for Germany's anti-EU party fading
  8. Turkish intelligence not welcome in Germany

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The Idealist QuarterlyCan Progressive Stories Survive Our Post-Truth Era? After-Work Discussion on 6 April
  2. ACCAG20 Citizens Want 'Big Picture' Tax Policymaking, According to Global Survey
  3. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  4. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  5. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  6. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  7. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  8. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  9. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  10. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  12. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans