Catanzaro

Mayor probed, businessman arrested in 'Ndrangheta operation

Calabrian mafia clan 'got favours, controlled port'

Mayor probed, businessman arrested in 'Ndrangheta operation

Catanzaro, July 3 - The mayor of a small town on the Calabrian coast was placed under investigation and a prominent local businessman arrested in a probe into alleged extortion by the 'Ndrangheta mafia Wednesday. Badolato Mayor Giuseppe Nicola Parretta is suspected of helping a local 'Ndrangheta clan, police said. Prosecutors wanted him arrested along with 25 alleged clan members but a preliminary hearings judge ruled there was insufficient evidence of what the official allegedly got from mobsters in return for his suspected efforts in their favour. Nautical sector entrepreneur Antonio Ranieri was arrested on suspicion of getting a Modena firm to hand him the management of Badolato's port, threatening to unleash a mafia war. Badolato has earned headlines in recent years because of efforts to repopulate the town with immigrant farm workers. The integration has been seen as a successful model for housing migrants who are often exploited and live in appalling conditions. 'Ndrangheta controls swathes of Calabria and, thanks to its control of the European cocaine trade, has infiltrated the economies of northern Italy, northern Europe, Canada, Australia and other countries. It is now ranked Italy's most powerful mafia, having overtaken Sicily's Cosa Nostra, and the one hardest to recruit informants from.

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