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MILAN/2: HERE'S WHO HAS TAKEN OVER THE (FORMER) MORAL CAPITAL OF ITALY

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Milan is no longer a land of conquest for the mafias: the bosses have already taken the (former) moral capital of Italy. Pretty much every time prosecutors and police dip their hands into the lucrative affairs of the city they find some shady connection with the clans

The partnerships involving the Camorra are particularly dynamic, according to Wikilao's sources. The illegal activities can mostly be traced to the Gionta clan of Torre Annunziata (who also have a strong presence in Varese and Mantova), the Casalesi clan, and the Belforte clan of Marcianise which, it turns out, possesses investments and real estate worth tens of millions of euros and - according to court documents - had also gotten its hands on Milan's Gran Caffe' Sforza, which police impounded last year.

Many of the 118 people arrested in another police bust, Operation Pavone (Peacock), are members of the Camorra (Naples mafia). The operation, which had various phases, is considered a milestone in the battle against organized crime organizations in Milan. Many mafiosi from Puglia and members of the Milan underworld were also caught in the net.

In Milan the dons launder money. But that's not all they do. There is no doubt they are crazy for drugs, the real engine behind every important criminal organization.

We have mentioned the Camorra, and we will talk about Cosa Nostra. But the 'ndrangheta is the organization that has taken over every street in Milan. It has corrupted its soul. The Calabrian mafiosi's presence is very well organized and widespread. Their points of reference are mostly the home clans of Africo, Gioia Tauro, Plati', Rosarno, San Luca and Vibo Valentia.

The reach of the 'ndrangheta in the Lombardy region has been unveiled and described in the papers of Operation Crimine, with which the Carabinieri police confirmed the existence of a regional cupola, or high command, to which the 11 Milan 'locali', or clans, answer to.

These are the Morabito clan (whose strength comes from very close connections with South American narcos, or drug traffickers), the Strangio, Piromalli, Bellocco (who also have branches in Emilia Romagna and Switzerland), the Barbaro (who control illegal trafficking at Buccinasco), the Mancuso: they all have ambassadors, officials and soldiers in Milan. Just as if they were back home in the Aspromonte mountains of Calabria.

The Master General in Lombardy is - according to investigators – Antonino Lamarmore, an 'infinito' (infinite – the highest rank of the Calabria mafia) from Limbiate. Cosimo Barranca and Leonardo Antonio Chiarella are among the bosses to look out for among the 'locali' of Milan. Bollati is considered territory of Vincenzo Mandalari, Cormano is in the hands of the Panetta family, and Vincenzo Cammarei is in Bresso . Still more: at Corsico, Bruno Longo is in charge, in Rho it is the powerful Stefano Sanfilippo, in Pioltello we have Alessandro Manno (who is allied with the Sicilian clan of the Bonaffini), Giovanni Ficarra in Solara, and Vincenzo Rispoli in Legnano. And still more: Desio - according to a number of investigations – is ruled by Giuseppe Moscato, and Seregno answers to the Belnome family.

Earth moving is the core business of the 'ndrangheta in and around Milan. Frequent intimidations ensure they keep their control over the sector. Associated to this 'branch of the company' is the very profitable business of waste disposal, which obviously they manage without respecting any laws. The mafia dons have been caught dumping, in two abandoned quarries, waste from companies working with the Milan Expo and the Brembeni company, which is building the Brescia-Bergamo-Milan highway. Of course, they claimed it all they dumped was dirt and rocks.

The clans have gotten their hands on the health system, as well, as many investigations, such as those into the contracts for the San Paolo hospital and the National Tumor institute in Milan have shown. They also manage a rich business in videopoker games, and own many clubs. They task others with the security services.

The 'ndrangheta is also the mafia organization that has been the most astute at infiltrating the social and institutional fabric of Milan and the region. It does this thanks to a huge availability of cash, of course, but also with the help of individuals of trusted Calabrian origins, who they approach in an appropriate manner, or sometimes threaten. Among the over 400 people arrested in one year for mafia crimes, many are young people born in Milan, but sons of Calabrians: second generation 'ndrangheta members, basically.

Cosa Nostra (Sicilian mafia), which has returned to the drug trafficking market , has done business with the Calabrese clans that are dominant in Milan, by way of the Fidanzati clan of the Resuttana zone, in Palermo, and the Emanuello clan of Gela, which is very active in the Busto Arsizio area. The Bolognetta family of Palermo, and the Piietraperzia family (they even have a 'decina' or group of ten in Cologno Monzese with relatives in the Manno clan from Calabria) from Enna have a significant presence in Milan, and are focused on the usual drug trafficking, but are involved in extortion and moneylending as well.

Important figures from the Puglia organized crime circles have been spotted in Milan - individuals such as Nicola Traversi - who are thought to be tied to the Foggia clan of Piarulli-Ferraro, who, according to the results of the investigation, act as agents for drug procurement.

November 2, 2013