Former IRA man and Dublin firm are linked to Calabrian Mafia scam
Italian media sources yesterday reported that a Dublin-based property company and a former member of the Provisional IRA from Northern Ireland were involved in a money laundering property scheme, run by the ’Ndrangheta, the Calabrian Mafia.
The alleged Irish involvement came to light in the context of 60 anti-Mafia, blitz operations, codenamed “Metropolis”, carried out yesterday by police in Calabria, Campania, Lazio and Sicily, and also in Spain and Britain.
According to media reports, senior investigators from Reggio Calabria claim the former IRA man was a representative of a Dublin-based property company, which was involved in a joint venture with the ’Ndrangheta and with Spanish investors.
Arrest warrants for 20 people allegedly involved in the Calabrian scam, including the man from Belfast, were issued yesterday but a spokeswoman for the European Anti-Mafia Commission said last night he could not be arrested as he was no longer in Italy but rather had gone to a country where the arrest warrant was not “applicable”.
Cannot be arrested
“The problem is that the man cannot be arrested because he is no longer in Italy, he has gone to a country where the arrest warrant against him cannot be enforced,” Palermo-based Sonia Alfano said.
“This is a perfect example of the difficulties encountered by the 27 EU member countries when it comes to the fight against organised crime. We urgently need the approval of some form of cross-border anti-mafia legislation which enables magistrates and police forces to act effectively.”
The name of the Dublin-based company appears in a video released yesterday by the Guardia di Finanza, the finance police, outlining the details of the property scheme.
A London-based company also features in the police video, which contains footage of the seaside holiday homes at the centre of the alleged money laundering scam.
Preliminary investigative judge, Massimo Minniti, said yesterday: “This scam is the result of the combination between massive influx of outside capital and, above all, the ability of criminal organisations to govern and “control” the territory, thus guaranteeing the purchase of land and the development of projects.”
Veteran ’Ndrangheta investigator Nicola Gratti last night called the “Metropolis” inquiry “the most important investigation into money laundering in Italy in the last 10 years”.