The largest trial in Italy in recent years for members of several dangerous organized crime groups began Wednesday in the southern city of Lamezia Terme (Calabria region).
More than 300 members of various mafia clans operating in southern Italy will stand before judges in a bunker specially equipped for the occasion, measuring about 3,000 square meters. Most of them belong to the powerful criminal organization andrangheta, whose historical fiefdom is Calabria. However, in recent decades, this gangster syndicate has spread its influence over virtually the entire national territory and has long gone beyond the borders of the country. In addition, the bench in Lamezia Terme was also occupied by members of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and several Mafia groups from the Puglia region.
The beginning of the process was preceded by extensive work of the Italian investigative authorities who over the past five years have managed to find and arrest many sophisticated Mafiosi, for a long time hiding from justice, including Germany, Switzerland, and Bulgaria. Some former civil servants, police officers, and businessmen accused of aiding and abetting the mafia will also face trial.
One of the main organizers of the “maxi-process,” the chief prosecutor of the province of Catanzaro, Nicola Gratteri, stressed that it is time to tell society the truth about the real face of today’s Andrangheta. “Everyone must understand what the Calabrian Mafia is now. It is no longer an organization of shepherds, once engaged in the kidnapping. It is a large criminal holding company that requires political will to counter it, including changes to the criminal code,” he said.
Nicola Morra, who arrived in Lamezia Terme on Wednesday, the chairman of the parliamentary commission against the mafia, called the trial that began “the most important trial not only of the ndrangheta but also of the white-collar crime.” “Today the mafia acts in silence … It weaves relations with the authorities and therefore becomes even stronger,” the politician stressed.
The trial in Lamezia Terme will be the largest operation of Italian justice against the mafia since the historic “maxi-trial” in Palermo, which lasted from 1986 to 1992. That trial of the Cosa Nostra leaders was initiated by the famous investigator Giovanni Falcone, who was killed by the mafia in May 1992