Italy launched a set of new initiatives on Thursday to combat the Mafia , including a national agency in charge of assets confiscated from crime syndicates which earned an estimated 78 billion euros ($109.5 billion) last year.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi took his cabinet to Calabria in southern Italy, where the powerful 'Ndrangheta crime clans recently threatened magistrates and even Italy's president with bomb attacks, to present a 10-point plan focused on efforts to seize cash, property and goods from Mafia clans.
"To fight the Mafia you need to attack mobsters' assets and this will be the focus of the fight against organised crime," he told a news conference in the city of Reggio Calabria.
Italian business lobby Confeserscenti says that Calabria's 'Ndrangheta -- with its huge slice of the global drugs trade -- Sicily's Cosa Nostra, Naples' Camorra and Puglia's Sacra Corona Unita had a total turnover in 2009 of 135 billion euros, with the global crisis helping to raise their "profits" 8 percent.
But Berlusconi says his centre-right government has enjoyed unparalleled success in arresting top mafiosi and seizing their goods, pointing to one operation this week that yielded 550 million euros of confiscated Mafia goods in a single day.
Berlusconi announced the set-up of the National Agency for the Administration of Seized and Confiscated Assets, based in Reggio Calabria, which will have the task of ensuring property taken from the Mafia is quickly put to good use for local communities and institutions.
"Some bright spark said the criminals are ready to buy back their confiscated goods at auction. Fine, that means we will just confiscate it again," said Berlusconi.
ReutersLast Mod: 29 Ocak 2010, 04:36