Italian mafia becoming a 'globalising phenomenon', investigators warn

The head of Italy's anti-mafia investigative unit said that the mafia's influence was quickly spreading to other countries 

Giuseppe Governale
Giuseppe Governale

Italy’s anti-mafia chief warned how the mafia was becoming a “globalising phenomenon” and is spreading to other countries.

Giuseppe Governale, the head of Italy's anti-mafia investigative unit DIA, said mafia was not just an Italian problem but was quickly spreading to European countries.

"Organized crime is moving abroad, globalizing," he stated during a meeting with the foreign press in Rome on Tuesday.

Governale added that the criminal organisation was today "in great organisational difficulty after suffering substantial blows".

He said that although the notorious Sicilian Cosa Nostra has "always been present in the United States, Canada, and Australia", the influence of the Calabrian mob, known as the 'Ndrangheta, was "underestimated".

Despite criminal organisations having contacts all over the world in countries where they operate, 'Ndrangheta "tends to replicate the structures it has established in Calabria," he insisted.

He referenced Brussels as an example, claiming "they don't buy just buildings but entire neighbourhoods" in the Belgium capital.

Most of the mob's upper ranks have been arrested, with the exception of kingpin Matteo Messina Denaro. Fugitive Denaro has been on the run since 1993, with police closing in on his closest aides, but Governale said he was no longer considered the mob's supreme leader.

He warned, however, that the death in prison in November 2017 of Cosa Nostra's former kingpin, Totò Riina, could prompt the organization to name a new head.

Governale said Cosa Nostra has been weakened, but "unfortunately, the conditions linked to its environment and that allow its development still exist".

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