Nanjing Night Net

Book sheds light on organised crime by putting Mafia on the map

ROME: The Mafia is one of Italy’s most famous exports; now it even has an atlas.In a book published in Italy this week, Francesco Forgione, the president of the Italian Anti-Mafia Parliamentary Commission from 2006-2008, has used thousands of pages of court documents and judicial acts to create a map of global Mafia hot spots, or what has been dubbed the Italian atlas of organised crime.And Australia gets rather a large mention.The Mafia represents three criminal organisations – the ‘Ndrangheta from Calabria, Cosa Nostra from Sicily and the Camorra from Naples. It has become a multinational enterprise with ”branches” all over the world.Mr Forgione said Australia was ”colonised” by the ‘Ndrangheta, who used the proceeds of kidnapping in southern Italy to fund their legitimate and illegitimate business interests in Australia.In the 1980s the continent was divided into six ”territories” that were controlled by a central council in San Luca, Calabria, he said. But that could all change.”The Calabrian Mafia have a historical presence in Australia, but more recently the Napolitan Camorra has gained an important foothold in the counterfeiting of electrical appliances and clothing,” Mr Forgione said.Much in his book is known in Australia: Robert Trimboli and the Griffith marijuana trade, the expulsion of Domenico Barbaro, and more recently the scandal involving Francesco Madafferi, whose extradition order was annulled by the former immigration minister Amanda Vanstone.However, Mr Forgione goes further. Cities and suburbs that make the map include: Sydney, Helensburgh, Five Dock and Griffith in NSW; Melbourne and Wonthaggi in Victoria, Adelaide in South Australia; and Perth, Harvey, Bunbury and Hidden Valley in Western Australia. Also included are the names of those who have been convicted of, or associated with, Mafia-related crimes in Italy, and those who remain at liberty in Australia.The difference in law enforcement between the two countries was a problem, Mr Forgione said. “What is a crime in Italy is not automatically a crime in Australia. Australia for example doesn’t have a law making Mafia association a crime, as we do in Italy.”In Italy more than 8600 people were arrested between 1992 and last year for mafia-related crimes, with confiscated assets totalling more than â?¬1.3 billion ($2.2 billion), says the National Anti-Mafia Investigations Directorate.Mafia assets have been estimated at up to â?¬1000 billion, invested in legitimate and illegitimate activities across the globe, making them very difficult to track.The seizure and confiscation of Mafia assets is central to the fight against organised crime in Italy.Libera, the principal network of anti-Mafia organisations in Italy, oversees many of these projects, including the redevelopment of Mafia assets such as property, buildings and vineyards into functioning businesses whose profits are fed back into the community.A controversial proposal before the Italian Senate, however, could mean these assets are sold off at auction. Anti-Mafia campaigners say this is good for the state coffers, but too easy for the Mafia to buy back what was once theirs.But the director of Libera International Network, Tonio dell’Olio, said there had been a big rise in grassroots anti-Mafia activism in Italy. Groups such as Addio pizzo (Goodbye protection money) were being set up mainly by young people in the south.This week the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Pawel Samecki, announced that the European Union would give Italy â?¬64 million to redevelop confiscated Mafia assets in the country’s south.
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