212 mn seized from ‘Ndrangheta-linked businessman

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(ANSA) – REGGIO CALABRIA, FEB 11 – Italian police on Thursday
seized some 212 million euros from a Calabrian businessman
believed to be linked to two top clans in the Calabria-based ‘Ndrangheta mafia, Italy’s richest and most powerful organised
crime group.
    They said Domenico Gallo, 65, was suspected of being close to
the Piromalli and Zagari-Fazzalari clans.
    As well as various financial assets, police seized 13 financial
companies, stakes in other firms, 11 pieces of property
including farms and factories and a luxury villa, a luxury car
and 12 luxury watches.
    Informants have told police that Gallo managed to secure a raft
of public-works contracts by bringing together mobsters, civil
servants and wheeler-dealers over several decades, earning
himself the nickname ‘Tarmac Billionaire’.
    Since 1985, police investigations have listed him as a leading
figure in the web of relations between ‘Ndrangheta and the local
and national political and administrative worlds.
    ‘Ndrangheta is Italy’s richest and most powerful mafia thanks to
its control of the European cocaine trade.
    All its activities have been estimated to be worth the
equivalent of at least three per cent of Italian GDP.
    Its tentacles have spread from its southern Italian base to
central and northern Italy, northern Europe, North and South
America and Australia, among other areas.
    Its influence is especially strong in the affluent northern
Italian regions of Lombardy, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna, but it
has also spread to Lazio and Rome.
    The other mafias in Italy are Cosa Nostra, and the Camorra in
Campania.
    There is a smaller mafia in Puglia, the Sacra Corona Unita
(United Holy Crown, SCU), which is generally considered less
dangerous and expansive.
    The biggest ever trial into ‘Ndrangheta
started in Lamezia Terme in mid-January.
    The trial delves into the activities of the ‘Ndrangheta clans in
Vibo Valentia and their links to the political, institutional,
economic and rogue Masonic worlds controlling all aspects of
local life in Calabria.
    It is the biggest mafia trial in Italy since the so-called ‘maxi-trial’ of Cosa Nostra in Sicily from 1986 to 1992.
    The trial, which is expected to last around three years, has
over 300 defendants who are facing hundreds if charges.
    The defendants include local politicians, businessmen, police
and other institutional figures accused of helping ‘Ndrangheta
hold sway over Calabrian life. (ANSA).
   

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