Bread bandits busted in maxi German-Italian mafia sting

2018-01-09 18:47


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rome – Italian and German police have rounded up more than 100 suspects in a vast anti-mafia operation in the two countries, cracking open a crime empire that grew rich on bread, wine and funeral services.

Some $60m worth of property was also seized in the joint operation against the 'Ndrangheta mafia, Italy's police and Eurojust said on Tuesday.

The powerful organised crime syndicate based in southern Italy had infiltrated businesses across Italy as well as in Germany.

Many of the 160 arrest warrants – issued for mafia association, attempted murder, money laundering, extortion and illegal weapons – targeted suspects already serving time for other crimes.

The crime ring's "holding company", based in the town of Ciro in Calabria, was led from his cell by Giuseppe Farao, a 70-year-old boss already sentenced to life imprisonment but still issuing instructions to his family and associates.

Farao and sons had fingers in several pies in Italy: They controlled bakeries, vineyards and olive groves, and forced restaurants and hotels to use their products.

They had also infiltrated funeral homes, laundrettes, plastic recycling plants and shipyards, with a dozen local elected officials including mayors implicated in fraudulent public tenders.

The group was also involved in tourism and gambling businesses, as well as reception centres for migrants.

Violence 'bad for business'

Wiretaps revealed the gang had expanded to Germany and was intimidating "owners of restaurants, pizza and ice cream parlours, forcing them to buy products from the companies controlled by the criminal group".

Eleven of the suspects, aged 36 to 61, were detained in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Hessen and North Rhine-Westphalia on accusations of blackmailing and money laundering, German police said.

Despite the violent crimes on the charge sheets, the clan had attempted to squeeze the most money out of its business interests without waving Kalashnikovs around.

The aim was "to limit the use of violence as much as possible and avoid the internal struggles that are bad for business", Italian police said in a statement.

At least 5 000 restaurants in Italy are in the hands of organised crime groups, the country's biggest agricultural association Coldiretti said on Tuesday.

The business was worth $26bn in 2017, up 30% on a year earlier, and affected the whole food chain from production to transport and distribution – including the export of counterfeit Made in Italy goods, it said.

Read more on:    germany  |  italy

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.