Sicilian police moved to confiscate an array of assets including 65 properties and 19 cars from a notorious mafia boss as authorities underlined the new Italian government’s pledge to crackdown on organised crime.
Police published pictures of a villa with a vast swimming pool and panoramic views overlooking Palermo, one of a handful of assets worth as much as €21 million (£18 million) seized from Mafia boss Pietro Formoso.
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Formoso is a prominent mobster from the Misilmeri clan of Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia, who made his money from international drug smuggling and forcing Sicilian supermarkets to use meat supplied by the underworld.
Gen. Giancarlo Trotta, the commanding officer of the finance police who seized the assets, said: “This is a new blow against Mafia infiltration of the legal economy and against the Mafia that damages companies who respect the rules.”will go some way in underlining the new populist Italian government’s claim to be spearheading a new crackdown on organised crime. Formoso was arrested before the coalition of the League and the Five Star Movement took office.
Matteo Salvini, the Interior Minister and leader of the hard-Right League party, earlier this month called television crews to film him swimming in another gangster’s confiscated pool in Tuscany to highlight his determination to fight crime gangs – though that villa had been seized as long as seven years ago.
In Caserta in the province of Naples police in a separate operation early last week seized assets worth an estimated €45 million from two Neapolitan mobsters from the Camorra crime gang, Gaetano Balivo and his brother Silvestro, aged 54 and 64, confiscating five construction and medical companies, accounts in 14 banks, 13 cars and more than 100 houses and pieces of land.
Mr Salvini commented on the latest the Naples seizure by tweeting “the Mafia disgusts me”.
Italian authorities seized crime assets worth an average of €1.6 billion euros per year from 2010 to 2014, l’Espresso magazine reported.
Police sources said Formoso had been brought down with the help of several Mafia ‘supergrasses’ who claimed he was well heeled thanks to profits from criminal activities including trafficking narcotics.”
“Formoso is a leading crime figure,” said Col. Antonio Di Stasio, commanding officer of the Carabinieri paramilitary police in Palermo province, when the mobster was charged.