More than 200 convicts, a total of more than 2,200 years in prison: one of Italy’s largest mafia trials is closed

One of the largest mafia trials in Italian history has come to an end, in the three-year process, more than 200 gang members were sentenced to a total of more than 2,200 years in prison – .

The defendants in the trial were members of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia and their colluding politicians and businessmen – the charges included murder, corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering and extortion. Since January 2021, more than 300 people have stood trial, of whom 80 were eventually acquitted, and 67 were previously found guilty in an accelerated procedure. More than 200 defendants were ultimately convicted and sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

2021 was the largest mafia trial in Italy in 30 years, only the Borsellino-Falcone giant trial with 475 people was bigger.

Lawyers are waiting for the verdict in the largest Italian mafia trial in recent decades on November 20, 2023 - Photo: Gianluca Chininea / AFP

Lawyers are waiting for the verdict in the largest Italian mafia trial in recent decades on November 20, 2023 – Photo: Gianluca Chininea / AFP

The ‘Ndrangheta, with roots in Calabria, has become one of the world’s largest criminal organizations in recent years, and is considered a mafia group even stronger than Cosa Nostra. The ‘Ndrangheta is the only mafia that is active on every continent, it has six thousand members in Italy and around ten thousand members worldwide, with an annual income of 50-60 billion euros, which is greater than that of Deutsche Bank and McDonald’s combined. 80 percent of the cocaine coming from South America comes to Europe through them. One of their working methods is to launder money obtained mainly from drugs and many other illegal activities through legal enterprises, both in Italy and in other countries.

In December 2019, after four years of investigations in Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Italy. 2,500 policemen took part in the raid, among those arrested were not only classic criminals, but also politicians, lawyers, policemen, and accountants who colluded with them. Belgian, French, Portuguese and Spanish authorities also took part in the investigation, seizing properties and cash worth several million euros. In the case, the Italian authorities suspect that the woman owned 50 percent of a company controlled by the Calabrian mafia.

The 2019 operation was named Rinascita-Scott, a reference to the Italian word for rebirth (“rinascita”) and the name of US special agent Scott W. Sieben, who helped Italian police uncover links between Colombian cartels and the ‘Ndrangheta. The investigation was led by Italian prosecutor Nicola Gratteri. Gratteri has lived under police protection for 34 years, and countless death threats and attempts to kill him did not deter him from investigating the mafia.

On the operation of the ‘Ndrangheta, the multi-year investigation and the trial.

The strictly guarded bunker where the negotiations were held was also built under the direction of Nicola Gratteri. The three judges left on October 17 to consider the verdicts, and since then they too have been living in a sheltered house.

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