The shadow of the Mafia hangs over Italy, which is recovering painfully from the Covid-19 epidemic. The health crisis is becoming a goose that lays the golden egg for criminal networks, which put pressure on citizens and owners of failed businesses.
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"With the crisis, the mafia is replacing the state. It distributes food, gives money, 100 or 200 euros," said Nicola Gratteri, antimafia judge. In southern Italy, a whole system is already in action. The first victims are families. Today, the mafiosi play the benefactors but in the coming months, these taxpayers will be forced for example to vote for the mayor chosen by the local mafia.
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Business acquisitions and money laundering
Criminal networks do not only attack citizens. The mafia also lends money to companies on the verge of bankruptcy because of confinement. "The final objective, when the mafia decides to stop paying, is to buy the activity. Often, they are restaurants and pizzerias. Afterwards, it launderes money through the management of these establishments" , regrets Nicola Gratteri.
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Another risk is that state aid may fall into the hands of the mafia. Because Italy has released 400 million euros to help the poorest inhabitants. To prevent organized crime from becoming richer due to the crisis, the antimafia judges, however, promise meticulous controls. Sometimes, behind a worker without income due to confinement, hides a mafia who lives from cocaine trafficking.