Italy: Police seize 'symbolic' Calabrian mafia villa
last update: October 22, 14:43
Reggio Calabria, 22 Oct. (AKI) - Italian police Monday impounded a four-storey villa in southern Italy worth an estimated three million euros from the elderly widow of late Calabrian mafia boss Antonino Gallico.
Police described the concrete villa in the Calabrian city of Palmi, surrounded by sprawling grounds protected by a massive security gate, as "the symbol of the mafia power exerted over the area by the Gallico' clan".
Owned by 86-year-old Lucia Giuseppina Morgante, the fortified villa contains five apartments and a large basement with four meeting rooms and is inhabited by members of the Gallico family.
It was seized on the orders of an anti-mafia magistrate in the provincial capital, Reggio Calabria, following a detailed probe of local clans belonging to the Calabrian mafia or 'Ndrangheta, now considered the world's most powerful crime syndicate.
The probe led to arrest warrants being issued in 2010 to the Gallico family's main leaders for extortion, mafia association and kickbacks from companies awarded public tenders notably for building work on the A3 highway in Calabria.
Investigators involved in the probe intercepted phone conversations where 57-year-old Giuseppe Gallico described how the family had in the late 1970s adopted violent means to acquire the land on which the Palmi villa was built.
Gallico and his brother Domenico and Alfonso 'persuaded' a lawyer handling the plot to put the deeds in the Gallico family's name free of charge after they organised an attack on 90-year-Saverio Rossini, who had made an offer to purchase the land from a local aristocrat, according to the wiretaps.
Experts say the 'Ndrangheta has overtaken the Sicilian mafia and become one of the world's most formidable international criminal organisations, due to its impenetrable code of silence and unlimited resources .
Cocaine is thought to be its biggest source of revenue, along with extortion and money laundering.
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