Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mafia boss turns informant, sends shockwaves through Naples' crime families

The decision by one of the Camorra’s most senior figures to turn informant has sent shockwaves through the Naples crime syndicate. The jailed mobster, Antonio Iovine, dubbed the Camorra’s “economy minister”, is now spilling the secrets of the brutal mafia group, it was reported today. And not only clan members are risk; now that “the first real boss” of the crime group has decided to cooperate with the authorities, “an entire generation” of mafia associates risks being “swept away”, according to La Repubblica newspaper. 

The Camorra’s accomplices are thought to include crooked politicians, civil servants and businessmen, who collude with its moneyspinning activities including illegal dumping, extortion, drug running and prostitution. Iovine was captured in November 2010 after 14 years on the run. But the first real breakthrough in getting the mafia boss to talk occurred within the past two weeks. With prosecutors Antonello Ardituro and Caesar Sirignano having applied careful pressure over a period of three years, Iovine finally cracked and began giving page after page of verbal evidence.

He was immediately transferred to a high-security unit in another prison for his own protection, while police and magistrates began checking the veracity of the evidence. Until his capture Iovine was considered head of the Camorra’s Casalesi clan, based in Caserta, north of Naples. This powerful clan gained international notoriety after its criminal activities were detailed in the hit book Gomorrah by local journalist Roberto Saviano. The title spawned the eponymous hit film.

The clan is thought to make hundreds of millions of euros each year through extortion rackets, drug trafficking, and smuggling illegal migrants and arms. But it is probably best known for environmental crimes. Magistrates have said that in the Campania region surrounding Naples, the clan’s dumping of more than 800,000 tons of refuse - in large part toxic - produced by companies in northern Italy, has meant that the water supplies had become poisoned. Cancer rates in the region north of Naples are known to be much higher than elsewhere in the country. After publishing his book, Mr Saviano received death threats from the Casalesi and has lived in hiding with an armed guard for the past seven years.

Today he hailed the significance of Iovine’s decision to collaborate: “He is one who knows everything. So now everything could change,” he said. “The earth is trembling for a large section of business, politics and whole sectors of public institutions. “Iovine is the organisation. Why did he decide to collaborate? I can’t manage to work it out,” he added.