29 May 2020
Italian police said on Thursday they had dismantled a major organised crime ring involving public works tenders valued at over 100 million euros ($110 million), including EU funds.
Eleven public officials were identified among the 63 people targeted in the operation codenamed “Waterfront” against the powerful ‘Ndrangheta mafia of southern Italy, Reggio Calabria financial police said in a statement.
Allegations include public tender fraud, abuse of office, and bribery.
“The aim of the criminal association was to guarantee the control of the entire system of public tenders issued by Calabrian contracting entities,” the statement said.
Fourteen people were placed under house arrest, while police seized the financial assets of 45 suspects and the corporate assets of 36 companies based not only in the south but also around Rome and Tuscany.
Investigators said the cartel was made up of multiple companies “capable of winning — through auction disturbances facilitated by the mafia — at least 22 public tenders, in systematic fraud against the Calabria Region and the European Community.”
Seven of the tenders from 2007 and 2013 involved European Union funds totalling 42 million euros to redevelop urban and waterfront areas near Gioia Tauro, a port city at the toe of Italy’s boot.
“Systemic fraud” was also found in related public supplies contracts, police said.
Read more by Agence France-Presse via Barron’s
Photo: © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro/CC BY-SA 4.0
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