Italian authorities accuse Tony Vallelonga, the former mayor of the Perth suburb of Stirling in Western Australia, of Mafia association, and "anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri told media that 'in a few days' a request for Mr. Vallelonga's extradition would go to the Australian Embassy and an Australian court and judge" as reported by Paul Lampathakis for The Sunday Times. Degenerating into cry baby mode Vallelonga denies the accusations, and "his legal team will write to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the Australian Federal Police this week, asking that Mr. Vallelonga not be taken into custody if the case escalates."
Vallelonga was accused pursuant to an international raid last week against the 'Ndrangheta or Calabrian Mafia. According to Italian investigative documents Vallelonga travelled to Italy in 2009, and on August 21 "met Siderno boss Giuseppe Commisso and his lieutenant Carmelo Muia" as reported by Sean Cowan for The West Australian: "The police brief includes the transcript of one alleged conversation between Mr Vallelonga and Mr Commisso in which they discussed the involvement in 'Ndrangheta of a man named Giovanni Vallelonga." Mayor Vallelonga says he "'would have' met Mr Commisso, but would not have discussed anything illegal." The alleged meeting between the reputed mobsters and Vallelonga apparently was recorded, and no doubt its content eventually will come out in the wash.
In any event, let this be a warning to public officials and business executives: you will be judged by the public for the company you keep, and if you lay down with dogs don't cry about getting fleas. Many in the public do not believe that its leaders should be rubbing shoulders with mobsters in any context or under any circumstance because at the very least the association creates an appearance of impropriety and confers legitimacy upon the underworld.
Meanwhile, the Australian government long has had its proverbial head in the sand concerning the extensive role of the 'Ndrangheta in trafficking cocaine in its country. Indeed, in a reckless and inexplicable move, in 2002 Australia closed its federal police liaison post in Rome, Italy which compromised the fight down under against the Mafia as reported by Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie for The Age.