Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Italy\'s mafia: breakdown of four main groups

08 Mar 2011

In addition to Cosa Nostra, there is the Camorra, which is based in the Campania region around Naples; the \'Ndrangheta, based in Calabria, and the little-known Sacra Corona Unita in Puglia, the heel of the Italian boot.

Together they were estimated in 2009 to have had a turnover of 135 billion euros – almost nine per cent of Italy\'s gross domestic product.

The hilltop town of Corleone, in the hills south of Palermo, is synonymous with Cosa Nostra. Two of the mob\'s most notorious leaders came from there: Bernardo \'The Tractor\' Provenzano and Salvatore \'The Beast\' Riina.

The Italian authorities began cracking down on Cosa Nostra in earnest after 1992, when the mob used massive car bombs to blow up two highly respected judges, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who were investigating organised crime.

Cosa Nostra has waned in power in recent years, but the \'Ndrangheta and the Camorra are on the ascendant.

Their huge reserves of cash enabled them to flourish during the global economic crisis, at a time when liquidity was in short supply.

Mafia clans have invested money from cocaine trafficking and other illegal activities in legitimate businesses such as hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, construction firms and waste disposal.

Cash-rich mafia chiefs have also begun investing dirty money in the stock exchange, according to investigators.

The most lucrative mafia activities are trafficking in drugs, people, weapons and contraband.

Next comes gambling, forgery and supplying illegal labour, followed by extortion and loan sharking.

Sacra Corona Unita is the least known of the four mafia groups, although it briefly hit the headlines last month when a full-grown tiger was seized by police from the home of a former mob boss.

The tiger was owned by Lucio Vetrugno, 55, who apparently used it to impress his friends and intimidate his enemies, until he was gunned down in a feud just before Christmas.

It had been kept in a cage for 16 years on an estate near the town of Monteroni di Lecce in Puglia. It was transferred to an animal park in Bologna in northern Italy.

News From: http://www.7StarNews.com

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