Super mafia of Italys most powerful on cards as Godfathers spotted at summit

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    Godfathers from Italy's three most powerful organised crimegangs were filmed at a secret summit mid fears they have joined forces to form a super mafia.

    Dons from the Ndrangheta of Calabria, Camorra of Naples and Cosa Nostra, based in Sicily, were caught on camera sharing pasta and wine together in a garden. It was one of dozens of meetings dating back two years police had under surveillance.

    Prosecutors have warned the trio may have formed an unholy alliance to create a grand crime coalition in Italy's rich north. One alleged Camorra don was heard saying to an ally: "This is Milan. We're not in Sicily, we're not in Rome, we're not in Naples – this is where we're doing the good stuff.''

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    The ally – a suspected member of Cosa Nostra – replied: "We've built an empire." The trio are making hundreds of millions of euros by investing in legitimate businesses in Milan.

    Prosecutors said the three crime groups have put aside historic rivalries to form a grand alliance that is taking advantage of business opportunities in the wealthy Lombardy region. They have forged "an evolved criminal network" after agreeing a "stable and enduring accord between Calabrian, Sicilian and Roman mafia members, a sort of confederation", prosecutors said.

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    The mafia in Rome – a relatively recent creation – is a hybrid of Camorra and 'Ndrangheta criminals. Unlike old-style mafiosi the new dons try to keep low profiles engaging more in white collar crime than shoot-outs on the streets.

    They are investing drug trafficking profits into legitimate businesses in sectors such as construction, hospitals and airport car parks, fruit and veg markets and even government contracts for refurbishing jails. The gangs are also accused of skimming off Covid-19 recovery funds doled out by the Italian state.

    The revelations emerged from Operation Hydra – named after the nine-headed monster of ancient Greek mythology. In a series of dawn raids on Wednesday 11 alleged mafia members were arrested on charges ranging from extortion to illegal possession of firearms, aggravated threats, drug trafficking and dealing and tax evasion.

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    More than 225 million euros' worth of assets were seized. Another 142 people are under investigation suspected of mafia involvement.

    Federico Varese, a professor of criminology at the University of Oxford, said: "When they are `abroad' – and for them that includes northern Italy – they coordinate. They are not stupid. t's a natural thing to do.

    "It's a win-win situation, although it is not easy. They are suspicious of each other. If it doesn't work out for them they will stop cooperating and they may start killing each other. Today they collaborate but tomorrow they may fight."

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