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Home English Exclusive Rome hotel seized in mafia sweep
ROME

Exclusive Rome hotel seized in mafia sweep

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© ANSA

(By Denis Greenan).
Rome, November 12 - A luxury Rome hotel was among
assets seized from Calabrian businessmen linked to the
'Ndrangheta mafia Tuesday.
The Grand Hotel Gianicolo, a former monastery converted into
a four-star hotel for the Catholic Church's Jubilee in 2000, has
48 rooms, a swimming pool and its own car park.
It has become one of the swankiest properties on the hill,
Gianicolo or Janiculum, that affords one of the most
breathtaking views over Rome.
"This goes to show how far 'Ndrangheta money has penetrated
the Italian capital," police said.
"They are quite bold about where they will launder their
money".
Five years ago a former Dolce Vita-era bar on the storied
Via Veneto, the Caffe' De Paris, turned out to be in the hands
of the Calabrian Mob, which recycles its vast cocaine profits in
big Italian cities and leading foreign economies.
The Hotel Gianicolo was seized from a Calabrian-born
real-estate magnate, Giuseppe Mattiani, and his son.
Mattiani and his family, who have suspected ties to a top
'Ndrangheta clan, bought up the old monastery in the 1990s and
did it up to profit from the huge influx of Catholic pilgrims
for the 2000 Jubilee, police said.
The Janiculum Hill, which gets its name from the two-faced
Roman God Janus, is not one of Rome's seven fabled hills because
it is across the Tiber from the ancient city.
It is one of the best places in Rome to drink in the
staggering array of domes and bell towers dotting the skyline of
the world's leading open-air architectural museum.
Other sights on the Janiculum include the church of San
Pietro in Montorio, built upon the site formerly thought to be
where St Peter was crucified.
A small shrine known as the Tempietto, designed by Donato
Bramante, marks the supposed site of Peter's death.
The Janiculum also houses a Baroque fountain built by Pope
Paul V in the late 17th century, the famed Fontana dell'Acqua
Paola, and several foreign research institutions, including the
American Academy in Rome and the Spanish Academy in Rome.
The Hill is also the location of The American University of
Rome, the Pontifical Urban University, and the Pontifical North
American College, as well as the Botanical Gardens of Rome's La
Sapienza University and the Palazzo Montorio, residence of the
Ambassadors of Spain.
In Tuesday's operation another four-star hotel was
confiscated from the Mattiani group - back on home turf in
Calabria.
The Hotel Arcobaleno in Palmi was seized along with other
properties worth over 150 million euros, police said.
According to a recent report from the Eurispes research
agency, annual drugs profits for 'Ndrangheta, which controls the
European cocaine trade, are now the equivalent of 3% of Italian
GDP.
'Ndrangheta (from a Greek word meaning 'heroism' or
'virtue') once lived in the twin shadow of Cosa Nostra in Sicily
and the Camorra in Naples.
While those two syndicates, notably the Sicilians, were
growing fat on the transatlantic heroin trade through operations
like the infamous 'French connection', 'Ndrangheta was only just
emerging from its traditional stock-in-trade of kidnappings in
the Calabrian highlands.
It has since become a highly sophisticated global network,
Italian officials say.
As well as being the richest, 'Ndrangheta is also regarded
as the most impenetrable of Italy's mafias, with its close-knit
family-based organisation outdoing the Sicilian mafia in its
ability to defeat police efforts to turn members into State
witnesses.
The European law enforcement agency Europol identified the
'Ndrangheta mafia in a June report as one of the "most
threatening" organized crime groups on the global level, due to
its "enormous financial might" and "immense corruptive
power," with a presence in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands,
France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, US, Colombia and
Australia.

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