CCTV.com - CNTV English - CCTV News

Crisis-hit Italy is more exposed to mafia power: prosecutor

01-12-2012 09:57 BJT

By Marzia De Giuli

MILAN, Italy, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Mafia has put its hands on the Italian economy cashing in on the ongoing financial crisis, leading anti-mafia prosecutor Antonio Ingroia told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

Ingroia, who is a public prosecutor in Sicily's capital Palermo, said that the mafia today is still a dangerous economic and financial power in Italy.

"Mafia is still far from being defeated, on the contrary, it has become a real criminal holding whose offshoots extend to other European and international countries,"he said.

In the prosecutor's view, a report released recently by retailers' association Confesercenti describing mafia as the "biggest bank" in the country was not an exaggeration.

According to the report, a growing number of small- and medium-sized enterprises are the main victims of rackets, loan sharking and robberies which generates a turnover of 138 billion euros (175 billion U.S. dollars) a year, or 7 percent of Italy's gross domestic product.

"Although quantifying the black and grey economy is always a hazard, these numbers give a realistic representation of the mafia phenomenon,"Ingroia said.

Such a big business, he said, includes both illegal and seemingly legal activities whose initial capitals belonged to the mafia thus were originated from illicit affairs.

"In fact money laundering is disguising the illicit origin of capitals by reinvesting them in seemingly licit activities, which mafia is increasingly doing also through exploiting the economic crisis," he said.

The prosecutor said the mafia is cashing in on the escalating eurozone debt crisis.

"Some important steps in fighting mafias have been taken recently by the Italian police and authorities, especially in the direction of eradicating territorial control and social consensus which used to be very tight until some years ago,"Ingroia stressed.

"But the current economic slowdown has been capitalized by the criminal groups, that have developed strong ability in reinvesting their massive amounts of liquidity in credit crunch markets,"he said.

In fact, Ingroia pointed out, many entrepreneurs are forced by the crisis to accept illegal funding provided by the mafia which, as highlighted in the report, owns 65 billion euros (82 billion U.S. dollars) in liquidity.

As a consequence of loan sharking, thousands of businesses and jobs have been destroyed over years.

"The recent captures of leading fugitive mafia bosses are extraordinary achievements,"said the prosecutor, who has been fighting mafia for 20 years coming under threat several times.

"But Italy needs joint efforts to overcome mafia, starting from eliminating impunity, group interests and a worrying mafia culture still widespread in the economic and political world as well as in the society," he said.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program