Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How the Camorra Went Global

A Pizza Ciro restaurant in Rome. The chain was among the assets confiscated
from the Righi family by the police in May 2016.
“We’ve come here to kill you tonight. Perhaps you don’t get it? At the same time, we’ll also kill your son and your wife".

These chilling words, spoken by a man associated with Italy’s brutal Camorra mafia, were recorded in a car by a hidden police microphone. Antonio Righi -- known as Tonino the Blond -- was threatening a broker to whom he had given more than €200,000 on behalf of the mob.

Righi had already been convicted of trafficking drugs and handling stolen goods in 2004. Now, in the summer of 2008, the Italian police were on his trail again. The whole Righi family had been working for the Camorra bosses in Naples since the early 1980s. But Antonio was bringing the money laundering game to a new, global level, and local anti-mafia prosecutors wanted to take him down.

On July 21, investigators who had been tapping Righi’s phone intercepted another key conversation -- less sensational, but, in a way, even more emblematic of the modern mafia. Speaking with an associate, Righi said he had found a tempting investment opportunity, and wanted confirmation that he could use funds parked in a British firm he had acquired.

“Is this company, Carrefur, alright?” Righi asked. “Because I have an ongoing operation for which it could come in handy.”

“Of course,” his henchman replied, “It is good because you have a lot of capital in it.”

The day after, in another conversation overheard by police, the nature of the deal became clearer: Righi spoke to a broker about investing 226,500 euros ($US 360,000) of dirty money in a Swiss real-estate fund.

These conversations were later transcribed in an indictment issued by anti-mafia prosecutors in Naples and obtained by Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI), a partner of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). On January 22, 2014, Righi, along with several family members and associates, was charged with conspiracy to launder money and mafia-type association -- a serious crime in Italy. He is currently in custody in Naples, where the trial is still ongoing.  (more...)


So, what's the action on Bay Street.?

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