Rome

Police make arrests, seize assets in 'Ndrangheta operation

Businesses around Italy worth 30 million euros confiscated

Police make arrests, seize assets in 'Ndrangheta operation

Rome, January 24 - Italian anti-mafia police, tax police and military police units on Thursday carried out an extensive operation against the Calabria-based 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate, with two arrests and asset seizures worth up to 30 million euros in the Calabria, Lombardy and Lazio regions. Police arrested Giuseppe and Barbara Croce', two well-known entrepreneurs from Reggio Calabria, the Calabria region's capital, for links to the 'Ndrangheta. The operation, which led to the arrest of the father and daughter business associates, is part of a broader operation launched last summer and which also led to the arrest of Dominique Suraci, a center-right councilor for the city who investigators suspect of being the reference point for the Tegano clan in their retail business activities. According to investigators, Giuseppe and Barbara Croce' worked with suppliers for their food retail business who they knew were affiliates of the Tegano clan. The contacts were supplied by Suraci. Police said that the Tegano clan - through its links with the Croce' businesses - created a de facto "cartel" in retail. "Honest" businesses, including food stores, bars and restaurants, were forced to order supplies from suppliers linked to the Tegano clan, thus helping the mafia launder money and prevent other legal competitors from undertaking business activities. By working under the protection of the clan, police said the entrepreneurs accumulated large market shares and extensive wealth. The Tegano's control over these businesses "once again shows how strong the 'Ndrangheta is and how it is able to infiltrate legitimate economic activities essential to the city's economy," police said in a statement. Such activity is an aggression against the legal economy, investigators said, "thanks to the role of subjects which aren't themselves mobsters but which work with the mafia, creating a so-called grey zone, and who lend their professional and entrepreneurial skills to the affirmation and realization of criminal interests". As part of the investigation, police seized assets, including retail businesses and shares in retail-sector companies, some accountable to Suraci. Some of the businesses seized have operations in regions outside Calabria, including Lazio and Lombardy.

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