MILAN, ITALY — Italian police on Monday arrested 35 suspected members of the Calabrian mafia in northern Italy, the ANSA news agency reported.
The 35 individuals are suspected members of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia in Lombardy, near Milan. They were charged with mafia conspiracy, extortion, illegal waste disposal and drug trafficking.
In addition, police also seized assets worth 2 million Euros ($2.79 million). The ‘Ndrangheta mafia is Italy’s richest mafia due to its control of the cocaine trade in Europe.
The investigation that led to the arrests also unveiled that a suspected ‘Ndrangheta boss had contacts with many show business figures including Lele Mora, a controversial talent scout and businessman.
Mora is also under investigation as one of the three people accused of abetting underage prostitution in the case against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. However, police said that the talent scout is not connected with the Calabrian mafia.
On Friday, Bank of Italy Governor Mario Draghi said that Italy is progressing in cracking down money laundering from organized crime but more efforts are needed for identifying violations by notaries and certified accountants.
Draghi added that mafia groups have increased their presence in regions like Lombardy where 80 percent of the arrests took place in the provinces of Milan, Bergamo and Brescia.
The economic crisis that struck the country in the last three years aided the expansion of the organized crime in the region. Many businesses were in need of money and accepted money from organized crime in consequence, added Draghi.