‘Godmothers’ Increasingly Powerful in Italian Mafia Families


October 30, 2016

Source: breitbart.com

There has been a steady increase in the number of women in power positions among the different branches of the Italian Mafia, with some as brutal and calculating as the men they are replacing, according to recent reports.

italian_mafia-godmother

In the Camorra, for instance, the Naples-based Mafia clan, prosecutors estimate that the number of active women is 10 times higher than it was in the 1980s or ‘90s, and many more women are winding up arrested or killed.

Analysts suggest that the reason behind female Mafiose rising to power has nothing to do with feminist empowerment and everything to do with demographics. Women are taking over when their male family members are sent to jail or killed.

“There is a growing number of women who hold executive roles in the Camorra,” said General Gaetano Maruccia, commander of the Carabinieri paramilitary police in the Naples area. “They are either widows of mob bosses or wives of husbands who have been put in prison. They hold the reins.”

Mothers, daughters, sisters and sisters-in-law are “assuming ever-more leading roles,” according to Stefania Castaldi, a Naples-based prosecutor who investigates organized crime.

But for whatever the motives, the transition has been real and relentless.

“In Naples, we say, ‘The bosses gave their balls to their wives,’” says Cristina Pinto, a reformed Camorra boss who served 23 years of jail time for her crimes.

“Now the power is in the hands of the women mobsters. These women are worse than men. They order murders just like that, not even thinking about the consequences. They are violent and irrational. Money and power make them crazy,” she said.

This phenomenon is not limited to Naples. Women bosses or “godmothers” can now be found in every branch of the Italian Mafia: the Camorra in Naples, the Cosa Nostra in Sicily. the ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria, and the Sacra Corona Unita in Apulia.

According to the Italian Ministry of Justice, more than 150 Mafia women are now locked up in Italian prisons, and nearly all of them had leadership roles in one of the Mafia branches.

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In Sicily, for instance, having women in positions of power in Cosa Nostra is now an accepted reality, something that wasn’t the case just a few decades ago. According to one Palermo prosecutor, Francesca Mazzocco, there are around 20 Cosa Nostra families active in the main cities and towns of Sicily, a third of which are either led by women or have women among their most powerful members.

“If the husband was very strong, then the woman gets more respect,” Ms. Mazzocco said.

One of the groundbreakers was Giuseppa (Giusy) Vitale, the first woman considered the real head of a Sicilian crime family, or in local jargon, one of the “bosses in skirts and high heels.”

“Giusy is a woman who sacrificed her femininity to almost become a man, shaped by her brothers in their image and likeness, ruthless and cruel, ready to order a murder with the click of her fingers,” says Alessandra Ziniti, a journalist in Palermo with the Italian daily La Repubblica.

To avoid prison, Vitale later became a pentita, collaborating with law enforcement, and reportedly now lives under a witness protection program in a secret location.

Another Sicilian godmother, Teresa Marino, allegedly took over for her husband, Tommaso Lo Presti, when the latter was sent to prison for his Mafia activities in Palermo.

“The role she assumed as head of the clan shows that times have changed – these days there is equality of the sexes, even within Cosa Nostra,” said Leonardo Agueci, a Palermo prosecutor.

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Italian journalists receive death threats following mafia don’s funeral


September 3, 2015

Source: The guardian

Attacks on investigative reporter and team from Rai 3 politics show come amid indignation over Hollywood-style service for Vittorio Casamonica.

Vittorio Casamonica

Two journalists, one in Rome and one in Naples, have received death threats for reporting on local crime boss Vittorio Casamonica’s Hollywood-style funeral in Rome.

The ceremony at San Giovanni Bosco church on 21 August prompted indignation as it featured a gilded carriage driven by six horses, a band playing the music from The Godfather, and rose petals being thrown from a helicopter.

The following day, Alessio Viscardi, an investigative reporter for web newspaper Fanpage.it, was in Terzigno, near Naples, looking for the airfield from which the helicopter had taken off. He was approached by four people, who took photographs of his documents.

C5JY0B marlon brando in the godfather 1972

C5JY0B marlon brando in the godfather 1972

“The attackers came by car after I’d taken a few shots of the airfield,” said Viscardi. “They stopped me and threatened me with death.”

Footage of the episode reveals a clear threat to the journalist, with one of those present saying “I’ll kill you” (“Ti uccido” in Italian).

Viscardi later filed a complaint with local police.

The second attack occurred the next day, in Rome, and involved a team from public TV station Rai 3, including journalist Alfonso Iuliano, his camera operator and sound engineer.

The three, working for the current affairs show Agorà, were shooting video in the Appio area, in which Iuliano knew that several members of the Casamonica family were living. The journalists were stopped and attacked by local residents, who threated them with death if they did not stop filming.

“They said to us they were going to beat us to death, more than once, and from more than one person,” Iuliano said.

The camera operator was left with a few scratches on his arm, while two people, related to Casamonica’s family, were arrested and later charged with robbery after allegedly taking the journalists’ phones.

Luigi de Magistris, the mayor of Naples, expressed his support for Viscardi, saying: “We can’t accept that a journalist is threatened with death.”

In Rome, the attack on the Rai 3 journalists prompted concern from deputy mayor Marco Causi and of transport councillor Stefano Esposito.

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Europol: Italian mafia poses big threat to European economy


June 25 , 2013

Source: Europol

The EU police agency, Europol, Monday launched A report titled “Threat Assessment on Italian Organised Crime” which was carried out to evaluate the impact of mafia structures based in Italy on the European Union. Read the report here

Italian_Mafia

The assessment, which is the result of two years of work by intelligence analysts at Europol, underlines how the main Italian organised crime groups (principally ‘Cosa Nostra’, the ‘Camorra’ and the ‘Ndrangheta’) are operating worldwide but are careful to keep a very low profile, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to detect their presence, said Europol in a statement.

“The Italian mafia-style groups are among the most threatening in Europe and in order to fight them, a pan-European approach is needed. Those of us in the law enforcement community need to step up our cooperation in tackling the most dangerous criminal groups,” said Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol which is based at the Hague in the Netherlands.

Domenico-Raccuglia

The main criminal activities of these groups are money laundering and large-scale drug trafficking. However, they are also involved in corruption, counterfeiting and the trafficking of toxic waste.
In these times of economic crisis, the immense assets that organised crime groups have at their disposal (the Calabrian Ndrangheta are estimated to generate illicit revenues of up to 44 billion euros a year) make it easy for these groups to infiltrate the legitimate economy, injecting much-needed liquidity into struggling businesses, noted the statement.

The criminals’ ‘expansion strategies’ mean that they are now touching parts of Italy and Europe not historically affected by organised crime, which could cause serious damage to the EU economy in the long run, added the statement.

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Anti-kidnap programme for Antwerp diamond companies


June 25 , 2013

Source: timesofindia

Diamantaires in the world’s biggest diamond cutting and polishing centre in Surat, who have their trading offices in Antwerp, have welcomed the move by Antwerp World Diamond Centre’s (AWDC) security office and Antwerp police to launch an integrated anti-tiger kidnapping programme for diamond companies in Antwerp.

diamonds

The programme, designed exclusively for diamantaires, especially Gujarati diamantaires on the radar of Italian mafia, would give a thorough understanding and help regarding the so-called tiger kidnapping. The event will take place on June 27 at Diamantclub Antwerpen, the Antwerp Diamond Club.

Sources said a tiger kidnapping, or tiger robbery, involves two separate crimes. The first crime usually involves an abduction of a person. Instead of demanding money, the captors demand that a second crime be committed on their behalf, such as a theft. The person held hostage is kept by the captors until their demands are met.

There have been a number of crimes in Antwerp where criminals have taken members of the families of diamantaires hostage and demanded that the company owner or employee go to the office and bring back diamonds or cash.

Antwerp-Diamonds

The Indian origin population in Belgium, mainly Gujarati, numbers about 14,000, of whom 5,000, belonging to 600 families, are in the diamond trade. Some years ago, Jewish traders made up 80 per cent of the business, with Indians accounting for 20 per cent. It is understood these positions have now reversed.

Diamonds are crucial to Belgium’s economy and to the gems trade in Surat and Mumbai, with which the Indian traders, mostly of Gujarati origin, have close links.

The diamond trading quarter of Antwerp is well protected but this is not always the case with the homes of the traders, though some do tend to employ private guards.

In 2010 and 2012 respectively, two diamond heists were reported in Antwerp where Gujarati diamantaires of the DTC sightholder companies-Kiran Gems and Karp Impex-were targeted by armed robbers.

Antwerp_Diamond-Security

In both the diamond heists, the gang members had held the family members of diamantiares hostage in the house at gunpoint and the diamantaires were asked to bring the polished diamond stock from the safe vaults and their offices. Dinesh Navadia, president, Surat Diamond Association, who is in Antwerp, said, “The diamantaires here are happy with the AWDC programme against tiger kidnapping. This will provide a sense of safety and security to the diamantaires.”

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