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 Italian politics & the Mafia, Berlusconi back in power
bagheriaboy
Posted: Apr 11 2012, 03:58 PM


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QUOTE (Carmelo @ Apr 5 2012, 11:58 AM)
Italy's Northern League accused of Mafia links

THE FEDERALIST Northern League has been shaken by allegations of money laundering on behalf of the ’Ndrangheta, the Calabrian Mafia.

Investigators also believe public funds, made available to the party for electoral and other expenses, have been diverted to buy houses, cars, holidays and other luxury items for senior league figures, including party leader Umberto Bossi.

Party treasurer Francesco Belsito resigned on Tuesday night after it became known that he was under investigation by the public prosecutor’s offices in Naples, Rome and Milan, as well as by the anti-Mafia unit in Reggio Calabria, on charges of money laundering and fraudulent abuse of public funds.

On Tuesday police carried out more than 30 raids in Naples, Rome, Milan and Genoa on private homes and offices linked to the Northern League.

Investigators believe some of the €18 million that parliament awarded to the league last year by way of “electoral expenses” was used by the Bossi family. The funds are thought to have been used to secure a €50,000 car for Mr Bossi’s son Renzo and to fund renovations of the Bossi family home in Gemonio, not far from Varese.

Funds may also have been diverted to long-time Bossi ally Rosy Mauro, a key figure in the league’s trade union, Sin.Pa, and deputy speaker of the Italian senate.

Wire-tap surveillance within the ambit of a money-laundering investigation carried out by Naples-based investigators has highlighted some apparently strange dealings by Mr Belsito, including a €6 million investment in Tanzania linked to the diamond trade.

In their report, the Naples investigators say: “What keeps coming up in the [tapped] conversations are the costs incurred by the family, and by that we mean payments made out for the personal requirements of relatives of the party leader [Mr Bossi]”.

The Milan investigators arrived at a similar conclusion, pointing out that the “expenses” had nothing to do with party business and were in violation of the party statutes.

After a short period during which when he allegedly contemplated resignation, Mr Bossi denied all the accusations, saying he had not used party funds for himself or his home.

Yesterday, Mr Bossi’s sons, Renzo and Riccardo, repeated that denial, claiming neither they nor their family had taken money from the party.

Ms Mauro said the accusations against her and Sin.Pa were “totally unfounded”.

Despite the professions of innocence, the investigation may well hit the Northern League hard, as it has long presented itself as the squeaky-clean voice of the northern people battling against the corruption of Roma ladrona (Rome the thief).

Mafia expert Roberto Saviano, writing in daily newspaper La Repubblica yesterday, said: “The league can no longer claim to be different with regard to organised crime . . . This is a betrayal which can only be confronted by league militants and by its many honest components.”

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/...4314388680.html

ciao amici

i'm never far away, but i had to have a laugh at this story. La Liga! Custodians of the moral North. Che Ca***!!

The alliance with Pope Berlusconi was bad enough and made a bit of a smell, but sleeping with Pope Silvio obviously had that toxic effect on Bossi and family. Obviously Bossi pondered the old adage, "...if you can't beat 'em........."

The 'new' mafia certainly know what they are doing don't they?

buona fortuna

'The king is dead. Long live the king'
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Junior
Posted: Apr 16 2012, 03:01 PM


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Italian ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi 'hosted nun strippers'
BBC News, April 16, 2012

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A witness at the trial of Silvio Berlusconi has said strippers dressed as nuns performed for the former Italian prime minister at a party.

Model Imane Fadil said she had been given 2,000 euros (£1,650; $2,614) by Mr Berlusconi the first time she attended a "bunga bunga" party.

She was one of several women who arrived at a Milan courthouse on Monday to testify in Mr Berlusconi's trial.

He is accused of paying for sex with an underage nightclub dancer.

The woman, Moroccan-born Karima el-Mahroug, was 17 when she allegedly had sex with the prime minister.

He is also accused of abusing his powers by getting police to release Ms Mahroug - better known by her stage name Ruby The Heart Stealer - from jail when she was arrested for stealing.

Witness payments

Ms Fadil told the court she had attended several parties at Mr Berlusconi's villa outside Milan.

She alleges that the first night she went, she saw two young women in nun costumes stripping for the prime minister. One, she said, was Nicole Minetti, now a regional councillor for Berlusconi's People of Freedom party in Milan.

Ms Fadil claimed that Ms Minetti and the other woman dressed as a nun stayed the night at the villa, and that women who attended bunga bunga parties were paid more for sex.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported last week that Mr Berlusconi had paid a total of 127,000 euros to three female witnesses, including Ms Minetti, since the trial began last year.

Mr Berlusconi's lawyer, Niccolo Ghedini, denied the payments were an attempt to influence the women's testimony, saying they were legal and reflected the former prime minister's "usual generosity", AFP news agency reports.

This is one of three trials that the businessman and former prime minister is currently a defendant in. The other two relate to tax fraud and violating official secrets, while earlier this year an Italian court threw out a fourth case relating to bribery claims.

Mr Berlusconi stepped down in November 2011 over concerns about Italy's economy.
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Junior
Posted: Apr 20 2012, 07:36 AM


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Italy's Berlusconi turns up at his under-age sex trial
BBC News, April 20, 2012

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has made a rare appearance at his trial in Milan for paying for sex with an underage girl called Ruby.

He is accused of paying for sex with a 17-year-old, then abusing his powers by getting police to release her when she was arrested for stealing.

Mr Berlusconi, who resigned over the economic crisis, denies the charges.

His appearance at a hearing with prosecution witnesses is very unexpected, correspondents say.

The woman he allegedly paid, Moroccan nightclub dancer Karima El-Mahroug, known as Ruby Rubacuori ("heart-stealer"), also denies having sex with him.

Four police officers are due to testify at the trial on Friday, Italy's La Repubblica news website reports. They were on duty the night in May 2010 when Mr Berlusconi allegedly phoned the police repeatedly and requested that they let Ruby go.

Mr Berlusconi allegedly told them that Ruby was a granddaughter of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

In another development, Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli denied his government had received bribes from a fugitive linked to a sex and corruption case involving Mr Berlusconi.

Italian businessman Valter Lavitola, arrested in Naples this week upon his arrival from Argentina, is under investigation for having allegedly bribed Panamian officials and plotted to blackmail Mr Berlusconi.

Mr Lavitola, an unofficial former aide to Mr Berlusconi, allegedly paid bribes to Panamanian officials to close contracts worth millions of dollars, including a contract to buy helicopters, radar equipment and a digital map.

He also allegedly acted as a middleman in a plot to blackmail Mr Berlusconi over allegations that prostitutes were supplied to the former Italian prime minister in return for favours.
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Carmelo
Posted: Apr 24 2012, 11:40 AM


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Berlusconi 'met with Mafia bosses in 1974'
'No doubt', says top court


(ANSA) - Rome, April 24 - A court document released by Italy's Supreme Court on Tuesday said that there was "no doubt" that ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi met with Mafia bosses in 1974.

The 146-page document said that Senator Marcello Dell'Utri, together with Berlusconi, met with Mafia bosses Francesco Di Carlo, Stefano Bontade and Mimmo Teresi in one of Berlusconi's Milan offices.

Based on testimonies from ex-Mafia boss Di Carlo, the court could not specify the precise meeting location.

During the meeting, the deal was sealed for the hire of Vittorio Mangano, a convicted Mafioso, who was allegedly employed to protect the future premier and media magnate's family after a wave of kidnappings of industrialists or their children.

http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/en...4-_6769435.html
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Carmelo
Posted: Apr 24 2012, 12:00 PM


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Senator paid mafia for Berlusconi say court documents
'Substantial sums' for family protection


(ANSA) - Rome, April 24 - Italy's Supreme Court said on Tuesday that Senator Marcello Dell'Utri, a former close aide of Silvio Berlusconi, was the intermediary with the Mafia for the ex-premier, handing on "substantial sums" of money for protection.

Dell'Utri's previous conviction in a Palermo appeals court for which he received a seven-year jail sentence was overturned by the court in March.

The court ordered a retrial.

In the 146-page court document released Tuesday, judges said that there were ample testimonies regarding Dell'Utri's alleged Mafia dealings, specifically in the 1974 hiring of the premier's supposed stable manager at his Arcore villa, Vittorio Mangano, a convicted Mafioso. Mangano was allegedly hired to protect the future media magnate's family after a wave of kidnappings of industrialists or their children.

The motivation for the agreement, said the court, was to "guarantee the freedom of movement and activities" of Berlusconi and for the "personal and group financial advantage" of Cosa Nostra.

The judges also said that the statute of limitations will most likely not be applied in Dell'Utri's upcoming appeals.

http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/en...ts_6768429.html
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Carmelo
Posted: Apr 26 2012, 09:27 AM


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Half young Italians think mafia 'stronger than State'
Almost 40% say Mob 'can't be beaten'


(ANSA) - Palermo, April 26 - Half of young Italians think the mafia is stronger than the Italian State, according to a survey out Thursday.

Asked the question, "who is stronger'", 49.9% answered the mafia and only 14.27% the State.

Only 23.7% of the respondents said the mafia could be beaten while almost 40% (37.19%) thought it couldn't. The sixth annual survey of perceptions of the mafia, by the Pio La Torre centre in Palermo, gave questionnaires to 1,409 students between the ages of 16 and 18.

Most of the sample, 67%, came from schools in Sicily, followed by Liguria with 14.41%, Lazio with 13.2% and Lombardy with 5.39%. Some 68.83% of those polled said the State wasn't doing enough to beat the mafia while 79.28% said much of the mafia's strength derived from its infiltration of the State.

http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/en...e-_6779092.html
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Carmelo
Posted: May 12 2012, 08:49 AM


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Cancellieri: we need to hit mafia's economic power

12 MAG 2012

(AGI) Turin - "Mafia has become a large holding that handles a huge economic power. We need to do more about this". These are the words that the Italian Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri uttered during a speech delivered at the Turin's book tradeshow today to remember the 20th anniversary of the Capaci mafia slaughter. She added: "We should do more to prevent mafia from accessing public tenders. We have laid out a number of provisions on tenders with Justice Minister Cancellieri. Mafia should be hit there" Minister Cancellieri once again stressed the need to act on seized goods: "We have a good law but it is not suitable to today's situation. We need a quality leap. We need to give what the mafia has stolen back to our society and we need to act swifty to demonstrate that we are dealing with this issue." As to the proposals put forward by Morvillo about vote buying and the extension of the law about the dismissal of municipal councils to all elected politians, Mr Cancellier observed that "These are meaningful proposals and we are committed to thinking over them".

http://www.agi.it/english-version/italy/el..._economic_power
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Carmelo
Posted: May 21 2012, 09:42 AM


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Facing Mafia charges, Sicilian Governor Lombardo resigns
Region set for elections in October


(ANSA) - Palermo, May 18 - Sicilian Governor Raffaele Lombardo, who is facing charges of colluding with the Mafia, said Friday that he has resigned from the helm of the regional government.

The decision means Sicily will have new elections for the governorship and its regional assembly on October 28 and 29.

Last month prosecutors presented a request to try Lombardo and his brother Angelo, an MP for Lombardo's Movimento per l'Autonomia (MpA) party, for allegedly swapped votes for favors with Vincenzo Aiello, a prominent member of the powerful Catania-based Santapaola clan.

Aiello was arrested in 2010 on a range of Mafia charges.

Lombardo has denied the accusations

http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/en...ns_6892361.html
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Carmelo
Posted: Jul 9 2012, 03:15 PM


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Mafia making billions from environmental destruction
The Italian mafia is making billions from carrying out wanton destruction of the environment, a report has found


Mafia groups earned more than £13 billion (16 billion euros) last year through a depressing litany of environmental crimes, from dumping toxic waste to illicit coastal development and the trafficking of endangered species.

It was an almost 10 per cent increase on the year before, according to the report by Legambiente, Italy's foremost environmental organisation.

Nearly 34,000 environmental crimes were detected in 2011 – the equivalent of more than 90 a day.

The most affected regions were Campania, Calabria, Sicily and Puglia, which are home to Italy's four distinct mafia organisations.

But several other regions, many of them popular with British tourists, were also affected, including Tuscany and Sardinia.

"The illegal handling of waste and illicit construction is destroying Italy," Roberto Saviano, the author of a damning book on the Camorra mafia of Campania, wrote in the preface to the report, 'Eco-mafia 2012'.

Although mafia activities were concentrated in the south the wealthy north of the country was not immune, he said.

"Without this dossier, it is impossible to understand Italy." Mafia activities affecting the environment were "spreading to a large part of Italy and penetrating new sectors," the report warned.

Crimes against the environment included the deliberate torching of 150,000 acres of woodland and forests to make way for development, according to the annual report.

Mobsters are also involved in illegal dog fights, poaching, clandestine horse racing and the looting of archeological sites.
The mafia made millions in 2011 from illegally disposing of an estimated 346,000 tons of rubbish.

Long stretches of Italy's coastline, especially in the south, have been marred by ugly and inappropriate development funded by mafia groups with the connivance of corrupt politicians.

In 2011 alone, more than 25,000 houses and other buildings were constructed without the appropriate permits, the report said.

The Italian police arrested more than 300 people – nearly 50 per cent more than the year before – and confiscated nearly 9,000 properties, but their efforts did nothing to stem the assault on the environment, said Vittorio Cogliati Dezza, the president of Legambiente.

The complicity of local authorities was key to the success of mafia dons – already this year 18 local councils have been dissolved on suspicion of mafia infiltration.
Campania, the region around crime-ridden Naples, was the region worst hit, followed by Calabria – home to the 'Ndrangheta mafia.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/...estruction.html
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Carmelo
Posted: Jul 18 2012, 06:27 PM


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Italy: Ally investigated for extorting money from Berlusconi

Palermo, 18 July (AKI) - Marcello Dell'Utri, a former top aide to Silvio Berlusconi's is being probed by Palermo magistrates for allegedly extorting money from Italy's former prime minister, judicial sources said Wednesday.

The billionaire media-magnate was summoned by Palermo prosecutors for questioning about the case on Monday but Berlusconi failed to show up, claiming he could not attend as he was hosting a economics conference.

Berlusconi's daughter Marina has also reportedly been called up by Palermo prosecutors for questioning as an"informed witness".

Prosecutors are keen to quiz Berlusconi on expenditure he made on Dell'Utri's behalf including 21 million euros for a villa Lake Como worth nine million euros and "interest-free loans" to Dell'Utri.

Dell'Utri, a conservative senator is set to have a retrial after receiving a seven-year jail sentence for abetting the mafia.

Italy's top appeals court in March ordered the retrial, saying he had not received a fair trial.

But in its explanation of the decision to order a retrial, the Court of Cassation said there was evidence that Dell'Utri had acted as intermediary with the mafia for Berlusconi, handing it "substantial sums" of so-called protection money.

Dell'Utri co-founded with Berlusconi the Forza Italia party in 1993, which later merged with the far-right National Alliance to become the People of Freedom.

The son of late mafia member and mayor of Palermo, Vito Cianciamino, Massimo Ciancimino, in 2010 testified in open court that Forza Italia resulted from a deal with the Sicilian mafia.

Dell'Utri had direct dealings with jailed Sicilian boss Bernardo Provenzano and was involved in secret negotiations with the Sicilian mob after it murdered a top anti-mafia judge in 1992, Ciancimino claimed.

http://www.adnkronos.com/IGN/Aki/English/P...3516560873.html
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Carmelo
Posted: Jul 20 2012, 07:39 AM


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President has 'nothing to hide' over state-mafia negotiation
Napolitano had 'principle to defend' in clash with prosecutors


(ANSA) - Rome, July 20 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said Friday he had nothing to hide after asking the Constitutional Court to intervene in prosectors' handling of a probe into alleged State-mafia negotiations in the early 1990s.

On Monday Napolitano turned to the court, arguing Palermo magistrates had surpassed their powers by wiretapping the conversations of his legal advisor during their investigations and failing to destroy them afterwards, as the Constitution mandates.

Antonio Di Pietro, the leader of the small anti-graft party Italy of Values and a former magistrate, blasted the move, suggesting the head of state was hampering the investigators' attempts to get to the bottom of a dark part of Italy's history.

The prosecutors are looking at suspicions that high-ranking politicians entered negotiations with Cosa Nostra to stop a series of bomb attacks that claimed the lives of anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992.

But Napolitano on Friday reiterated his argument that the powers of the Italian president would be diminished for future holders of the office if he accepted the conduct of the prosecutors.

"I don't have anything to hide, but I do have a principle to defend," Napolitano said.

"It is about the head of state's basic guarantee of privacy and liberty to carry out the office's functions".

Napolitano himself has recently been linked in media reports to investigations into alleged state-mafia negotiations.

The head of state said last month that there was no truth behind the reports and argued he was the victim of a "campaign of insinuations and suspicion".

http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/en...on_7213409.html
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Carmelo
Posted: Jul 24 2012, 12:34 PM


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Prosecutors request 12 be indicted in State-mafia case
Former Senate speaker Mancino among those facing trial


(ANSA) - Palermo, July 24 - Former Senate speaker and interior minister Nicola Mancino is one of 12 people facing a possible trial in connection with alleged State-mafia negotiations in the early 1990s following a request by Palermo prosecutors for him to be indicted on Tuesday.

Other suspects include the former minister Calogero Mannino, Massimo Ciancimino, the son of late Palermo mayor Vito Cinacimino, mafia bosses Toto' Riina, Giovanni Brusca, Nino Cina', Leoluca Bagarella and Bernardo Provenzano, top current or former police officers Mario Mori, Giuseppe De Donno and Antonio Subranni, and senator and former Berlusconi aide Marcello Dell'Utri. The suspects must answer to various charges of violence or threats to the political body of the State and mafia association. Mancino is accused of false testimony to prosecutors investigating the case and Ciancimino of mafia association and slander. "I prefer to be judged by a third party," said Mancino after being served notice of the charges. "I will demonstrate that I have nothing to do with the charges of false testimony against me and my loyalty to the State".

The investigations into suspicions that high-ranking politicians entered negotiations with Cosa Nostra to stop a series of bomb attacks that claimed the lives of anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992 recently drew the intervention of President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano over concerns that Palermo prosecutors had surpassed their powers by wiretapping conversations between Mancino and the head of state's legal advisor.

The prosecutors had allegedly failed to comply with the obligation to immediately destroy the recordings, allowing them to enter the public domain.ßß Napolitano's office said in aßstatement that he had appealed to the Constitutional Court even though the wiretapping had been "indirect" as the Italian Constitution forbids prosecutors from investigating the head ofßstateßunless he is suspected of high treason or attacking the constitution itself. The powers of the Italian president would be diminished for future holders of the office if Napolitano accepted the conduct of the prosecutors, the statement said.

http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/en...se_7231434.html
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Carmelo
Posted: Aug 6 2012, 04:50 PM


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Mafia cashes in as hard-up Italians look to sell their gold

AFP/Rome
August 5, 2012


Italy’s traditional goldsmiths are up in arms over a boom in the poorly regulated cash-for-gold sector that is making billions for the mafia as hard-up Italians rush to sell off their bling.

Cash-for-gold shops have filled Italy’s streets in recent months, with blanket television adverts urging Italians to sell off their medallions and jewels for quick cash.

Much of the gold eventually makes its way across the Alps to Switzerland - whether legally or smuggled across the border - making gold Italy’s fastest growing export and Switzerland an increasingly prominent market for Italy.

Custom seizures of gold are up 50%, officials say, with one of the latest cases a father and daughter arrested trying to squirrel out 50 kilos of the metal worth over 2mn euros in unmarked ingots.

“It’s a booming sector for criminal organisations. Smuggled gold ends up all over the world, in countries where it is swapped for arms, drugs, you name it,” said Ranieri Razzante, head of AIRA, an anti-money laundering watchdog.

Legal gold sales to Switzerland totalled 120 tonnes last year - up from 73 tonnes in 2010 and 64 tonnes in 2009, with foundries built on the border having to work flat out to meet demand and almost daily truckloads crossing over.

According to the gold workers’ guild ANOPO, “almost all the gold exported comes from cash-for-gold” bringing in billions for organised crime.

“Italy’s become a veritable gold mine,” said Ivana Ciabatti, gold and silversmith president at the national business association Confindustria, who is based in the central town of Arezzo, the gold production capital of Italy. “It’s fundamental to fight the criminal elements in the sector.”

The booming over-the-counter industry is worth at least 14bn euros ($17.6bn), according to ANOPO, which is campaigning for changes to the law to stop mafia infiltration of their sector.

Thanks to a legal loop-hole, the shops can dodge value added tax (VAT) because they are considered part of the “scrapping” business.

Out of an estimated 28,000 cash-for-gold stores in Italy, only a few hundred have registered with the Bank of Italy and professional associations say that some 80% of the gold sold there ultimately ends up in Switzerland.

Italy historically has some of the highest rates of gold jewellery ownership in the world because of cultural traditions like gifts of gold chains but also because ownership of gold bullion was illegal until a decade ago.

“Jewellery was the only form of gold investment allowed and Italian families still own considerable quantities,” said Alessandra Pilloni, an analyst from Bullion Vault, an online London-based gold trader.

“Cash-strapped families can now sell unwanted jewels much more easily than before and last summer was a turning point as the crisis deepened,” she said.

The price of gold has meanwhile shot up from some $300 an ounce in 2002 to around $1,600 today, triggering the current boom in sales.

“Criminal organisations have at least 50% of the cash-for-gold shops in their grip. They use fake figureheads to avoid leaving a trace and run illegal foundries in the backstreets of cities like Naples,” said Razzante.

In March, Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri said the sector had generated “a black market... which necessitates the constant monitoring above all in criminal circles linked to usury, fencing and money laundering.”

In an attempt to rein in the unruly sector, member of parliament Donella Mattesini, from Italy’s Democratic Party, presented a draft law last month which would enforce stricter controls - and fines - on cash-for-gold shops.

“We urgently need a law to regulate the sector,” said Mattesini, who is also the deputy mayor in Arezzo. “We need to up controls on back-street foundries and gold shops. It’s time to clean up the whole gold sector.”

http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/a ... rent_id=21
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Carmelo
Posted: Aug 10 2012, 08:25 AM


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Government cuts courts, saves tribunals in mafia-hit areas
Move part of government cuts


(ANSA) - Rome, August 10 - Italy's cabinet on Friday agreed to abolish 31 courthouses as part of spending cuts.

Originally the executive had planned to eliminate 37 courts, but six were reprieved.

Courts have not been abolished in areas highly prone to organised crime, the government said. Instead, the government has eliminated 220 court branch offices that are separate from the main tribunals and 667 justice of the peace offices.

"The government does not intend to take a step back in any way in the fight against mafias, not even in symbolic terms," said Justice Minister Paola Severino.

The cuts were in line with the assessments given by the House and Senate justice commissions and CSM, the judiciary's self-governing body.

http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/en...as_7325526.html
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Carmelo
Posted: Aug 16 2012, 08:23 AM


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Italy: Over 2,000 mafia arrests made over 12 months

Rome, 16 Aug. (AKI) - More than 2,000 gangsters in Italy were arrested during the 12 months through 31 July, the Italian interior ministry announced.
Annunci Google

In its annual report on Italian security released on the country's 15 August national holiday, the interior ministry said police made 2,041 mafia arrests, without giving a year-earlier number.

Italy three main mafias- the Camorra from the Naples area, Sicily's Cosa Nostra and the 'Ndrangheta from the the area in and around Naples, are a drag on the country's economy. Their activities in businesses like extortion, drug trafficking and irregular public works bidding are considered one of the country's biggest money makers.

In its report, the government said over the past year it seized and confiscated 4.1 billion euros in goods and businesses in 22 towns and cities..
Among the 2,041 mafia members arrested since a year ago, 82 were fugitives, 18 of whom were considered dangerous, according to the report.

http://www.adnkronos.com/IGN/Aki/English/S...3603613027.html
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