Wednesday 20 September 2017

It's the ultimate Mafia hit – by the recession

Michael Day Rome

EVEN the Mafia is not immune to the lingering recession, according to new reports that suggest a merciless spending review is causing serious discontent in Sicily's Cosa Nostra.

The axe, which is falling chiefly on handouts to junior mobsters, family members and hangers-on, has exacerbated the fall in "earnings" already taking place thanks to a police blitz on extortion rackets.

Those worst affected have been the relatives of jailed mobsters, prompting their wives and girlfriends to lead the backlash, Italian press reports said.

The insight into the mob's own financial crisis has been illustrated by wiretaps of Palermo's Noce clan, based in the centre of the Sicilian capital.

This section of the Mafia was particularly hard hit last October in a series of raids organised by Palermo's three anti-Mafia magistrates – Francesco Del Bene, Lia Sava and Gianluca De Leo – which saw 41 Mafia suspects arrested.

Mafia expert and author Corrado De Rosa said the news of the Mafia spending cuts underlined how the mob acted as "an anti-state, alternative welfare system". But he added the willingness of Mafia wives to speak out marked a major departure.

"Twenty years ago . . . this would never have happened," he said. (© Independent News Service)

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