(MENAFN) In a historic verdict, an Italian court handed down sentences totaling over 2,200 years to 207 members and associates of the 'Ndrangheta criminal organization. This marked the conclusion of the first phase of Italy's largest mafia trial in nearly four decades, addressing charges ranging from murder and drug trafficking to bribery, extortion, and criminal association.
The focus of the trial was on the Mancuso family, a prominent force within the 'Ndrangheta, with family boss Luigi Mancuso set to face a separate trial following his nephew's cooperation as a state's witness. Notable figures in the alleged clan, including Saverio Razionale, Paolino Lo Bianco, and Domenico Bonavota, received the harshest sentences, each handed 30 years.
Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri emphasized the significance of unveiling a network involving white-collar workers, entrepreneurs, and politicians engaged in business with the Calabrian clans. Gratteri expressed satisfaction with the trial's outcomes, underscoring the successful demonstration of collaboration between the mafia and individuals in various sectors.
Among those implicated were high-profile figures such as former Forza Italia MP and Berlusconi deputy Giancarlo Pittelli, sentenced to 11 years for alleged collaboration with the 'Ndrangheta and political ties with the Mancuso family. The scope of involvement extended to police chiefs, mayors, local councilors, and influential businessmen, all receiving sentences in connection with the criminal group.
The investigation, titled 'Operation Rinascita-Scott,' led to the seizure of millions of euros in property and cash. Launched in 2019, the operation resulted in the arrest of over 400 suspects across Italy, Bulgaria, Germany, and Switzerland. The 'Ndrangheta, controlling 80 percent of Europe's cocaine traffic, allegedly invested illicit funds in legal businesses, including hotels, restaurants, and car dealerships, contributing to the complexity of the investigation.
The landmark trial not only signifies a significant legal victory against organized crime but also sheds light on the extensive reach and influence of criminal networks, prompting a broader reflection on the collaboration between mafia entities and various sectors within society.
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