Italian police have seized a tourist resort worth 200 million euros ($273 million) on the southern coast on suspicion that the Aquino and Morabito clans from the 'Ndrangheta or Calabrian Mafia were involved in its construction as reported by ANSA.
Italian Premier Enrico Letta announced today that his government is developing measures to ramp up law enforcement against the country's Mafia groups with a particular emphasis on asset seizures as reported by ANSA:
"It will be a relentless commitment on the part of the government, in line with the spirit of a country determined to achieve important results," said Letta at the presentation of a government anti-mafia report. The premier said the new initiative would "especially go after criminal assets."
Italian authorities have seized assets worth 15 billion euros ($20.4 billion) from suspected Mafia fronts since 1992 as reported by ANSA: "some seven billion of those 14.475 billion euros in assets were seized definitively, while the rest was returned or is still being reviewed."
U.S. law enforcement could take a page from Italy's anti-Mafia playbook by targeting the so-called legitimate businesses which front for and otherwise associate with the mob families. Indeed, the Treasury Department should designate New York's five families as transnational criminal organizations under Executive Order 13581 which would freeze their U.S. assets and ban Americans from conducting business with them. Inexplicably, the American authorities have ignored this powerful tool in going after the Italian mob and left its economic infrastructure in place.
Italian police have arrested over a dozen suspected 'Ndrangheta mobsters in unrelated raids across the country as reported by ANSA: in Rome three suspects were charged with gunning down reputed boss Vincenzo Femia from the San Luca clan; in Milan reputed clan boss Agostino Catanzariti and nine others were arrested for their alleged roles in a protection racket against the city's nightclubs; and in Lamezia Terme assets worth 50 million euros ($68 million) were seized from businessman Giuseppe Trichilo who previously was convicted for Mafia association.
Libera Terra is an organization that manages agricultural land confiscated from the Mafia, and this Christmas it is selling gift baskets with food treats such as organic wine and olive oil produced from the liberated land as reported by Nick Squires for The Telegraph: "while the mafia may be more readily associated with extortion, drug trafficking and prostitution in Italy's towns and cities, it has in recent years start laundering its dirty money by investing in agriculture."
In 2013 Italy's top mob-busting agency -- the Anti-Mafia Investigation Department (DIA) -- busted 160 mobsters, and "seized goods and assets worth 1.93 billion euros [$2.65 billion] and confiscated 2.7 billion euros [$3.7 billion] in ill-gotten gains" from the country's four principal Mafia groups as reported by ANSA: "set up in 1991, the DIA is made up of law enforcement from various agencies including the State police, the Carabinieri paramilitary police, tax police, and the National Forestry Department."
Sicilian Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro has been on the lam since 1993, and Italian police have busted several of his close relatives who allegedly provided a "web of protection around the Cosa Nostra chief" as reported by ANSA: "the relatives are thought to have maintained contact with Messina Denaro . . . to help him run his crime syndicate based in the Sicilian city of Trapani and the surrounding province."
Italian police say "that they have never been so close as they are now to capturing" Messina Denaro as reported by ANSA: "'this is one of the most important operations,' in recent anti-Mafia efforts, senior police official Mario Parente said."
Assets worth $4 billion have been seized since 2009 from suspected associates of Messina Denaro as previously reported by Tom Kington for the Los Angeles Times: "police have ramped up seizures of businesses they believe are fronting for Messina Denaro," and are hoping that he "could yet be betrayed by otherwise loyal entrepreneurs exasperated by the growing number of seizures of their bank accounts, properties and businesses."
Messina Denaro has been convicted for, among other things, his role in murdering Giuseppe Di Matteo, the 13-year-old son of mobster-turned-informant Santino Di Matteo, who "was kept by abductors for nearly two years before being strangled and dissolved in acid in January 1996" as reported by ANSA.
Italian authorities have seized assets worth 50 million euros ($70 million) from construction and hotel businessman Giuseppe Amodeo who is suspected of ties to two Cosa Nostra bosses in the western Sicilian city of Trapani as reported by ANSA.
Italian authorities have seized assets worth 51 million euros ($70 million) from Mario Niceta and some other family members for their suspected ties to imprisoned bosses from the Brancaccio clan of Cosa Nostra or the Sicilian Mafia as reported by ANSA: "prosecutors with Palermo's anti-Mafia investigative unit (DDA) believe their company, which is reportedly one of Sicily's leading clothing and jewellery retailers, was linked since the 1980s to two Mafia dons, brothers Giuseppe and Filippo Guttadauro, with joint enterprises in the areas of Palermo and Trapani." Filippo Guttadauro is the brother-in-law of fugitive "boss of bosses" Matteo Messina Denaro.