Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018

Nearly half a billion seized in epic Casalesi sweep


(By Christopher Livesay)
Naples, June 27 - Police arrested over 50 suspected
mobsters and seized nearly half a billion euros in assets across
Italy Thursday in their biggest crackdown in years on the
infamous Casalesi gang.
Agents detained 55 alleged members of the Naples-based
Camorra mafia spanning the length of the country, from Modena
and Reggio Emilia in the north, Viareggio and Frosinone in the
center, to Caserta, Naples and Catania in the south.
Police said the gang was most heavily invested in the
northern Emilia-Romagna and central Lazio regions, focused
primarily on running slot machines, bingo halls and other types
of gambling.
The suspects are also wanted for conspiracy, collusion,
extorsion, threats of violence, computer and other types of
fraud, and money laundering.
Police seized 450 million euros in assets that included 247
bank accounts, 347 properties, 148 businesses and 280
automobiles, two of which were Ferraris.
Investigators said the gang's most lucrative ventures were
the illegal distribution of slot machines, collecting sports
bets, and online gambling.
Police uncovered a number of sites used to manage online
gambling with servers located in Romania.
Authorities said that all of the gambling outfits in the
sweep were not necessarily corrupt to begin with.
"All of a sudden you notice companies in the area that were
once in the hands of honest entrepreneurs that have now ended up
in the hands of organized crime," said prosecutor Giovanni
The gang was especially successful due to collaborating
with rival mob groups the Calabria-based 'Ndrangheta and the
Sicilian Cosa Nostra, police said.
"This important bust shows once again the mafia's
significant involvement in the gambling business," said Father
Armando Zappolini, speaking on behalf of Mettiamoci in Gioco, an
anti-gambling association.
"Bingo halls, slot machines and online gaming are now among
the main tools used by mafia groups to launder money and make
"This clear and irrevocable fact...requires strict
regulation of the industry that the government and parliament
should implement as soon as possible".
Deputy Interior Minister Filippo Bubbico called attention
to the "enormous phenomenon" of mafia ties to gambling.
"We must act immediately, working on sufficient regulatory
instruments that commit ourselves to prevention," he said.
The Casalesi gang came to world notoriety with the 2006
bestseller Gamorrah by Italian journalist Roberto Saviano, whose
accounts of their crimes prompted death threats and a permanent
government escort.
The book was later turned into a critically acclaimed film.

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