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The biggest mafia trial in 30 years 350 mobsters and corrupt politicians gathered in a call center go to court



THE SECRETS of Italy’s richest mafia are about to be revealed, as hundreds of suspected gangsters must face justice in the biggest mafia trial in more than 30 years.

The alleged members of the NDrangheta – including corrupt politicians – will be imprisoned during hearings to be held at a huge call center in Calabria that has been converted into a courtroom.

A huge call center has been turned into a courtroom for the upcoming trial in Italy

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A huge call center has been turned into a courtroom for the upcoming trial in ItalyCredit: AFP or licensors
Catanzaro's prosecutor, Nicola Grateri, at the center, addressing reporters during a visit to the transformed center

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Catanzaro’s prosecutor, Nicola Grateri, at the center, addressing reporters during a visit to the transformed centerCredit: AFP or licensors
The accused will be behind bars during the trial against 355 alleged members of the mafia

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The accused will be behind bars during the trial against 355 alleged members of the mafiaCredit: AFP or licensors

It will now house nearly 1,000 lawyers, judges, prosecutors and spectators involved in a process that will uncover the interior of Italy’s most secretive mafia – set to begin on Wednesday.

Investigators will uncover 24,000 wiretaps and wiretapped conversations to support allegations of murder, extortion and drug trafficking.

More than 900 witnesses will testify against 355 alleged members of the Calabrian mafia, whose turnover is about 40-50 billion euros (36 billion pounds).

The gang is believed to have strong ties to Latin American drug cartels, which use cocaine to import through ports such as Rotterdam, as well as gangs in Albania and Turkey to transport it to the market.

It comes more than 30 years after Maxi’s 1986 trial in Palermo, which uncovered the Sicilian mafia.

Nicola Grateri, who is leading the indictment against NDrangeta, said: “This is the most important maximum trial in Palermo.”

In 2019, Mr Gratteri ordered the arrests of alleged mafia members in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Bulgaria, leading to the latest trial.

A police chief, a former senator, lawyers, advisers and businessmen were among those arrested in an operation involving 2,500 police officers.

Mr Gratteri added: “This is a mafia that looks like us and is getting closer to us.”

Italian Justice Minister Alfonso Bonafede walks around the converted call center with officials, police and reporters

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Italian Justice Minister Alfonso Bonafede walks around the converted call center with officials, police and reporters Credit: AFP or licensors
One of the detained cells of the accused in a new bunker room built for the upcoming mafia trial

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One of the detained cells of the accused in a new bunker room built for the upcoming mafia trialCredit: AFP or licensors

A former senator, police chief, lawyers, local councilors and businessmen were among those arrested on suspicion of colluding with the crowd. “This is a mafia that looks like us and is getting closer to us,” said Mr Gratteri, 62.

“The Ndrangheta criminal organization is for the Calabria region of southern Italy what Cosa Nostra is for Sicily, dating back to the 18th century.

Unrestricted illegal activities include drug trafficking, extortion, prostitution and arms trafficking.

It is one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the world, with the FBI estimating that “Ndrangheta membership is about 6,000 – mainly in one of Italy’s poorest regions.

The name comes from the Greek “andragathia”, which means courage or loyalty.

The group specializes in cocaine trafficking and is believed to control up to 80 percent of cocaine shipments in Europe.

Cops say it has surpassed the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Naples-based Camorra in influence thanks to drug trafficking controls.

He was also attached to the crime scene in and around Turin in northern Italy.

The process will focus on mafia activities in the Calabrian province of Vibo Valentia.

The region is dominated by one of the most powerful clans in the loose confederation, making up the NDrangheta, Mancuso.

The overthrow of Mr Gratteri’s clan was aided by Emanuele Mancuso, the son of one of the bosses, who revealed secrets to the crowd after accepting police protection, according to the Times.

Mafia expert Antonio Nisako said: “They are very violent, but extremely enterprising with a global network of contacts.

“Liszt doesn’t move in Vibo Valentia without telling Mancusos.”

An Italian mob boss who ran an empire from a caravan park in Lancashire says the killing was “normal” in the family he was raised in.




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