Matteo Renzi the new prime minister in Italy says that his administration plants to break the Italian Mafia. He says they are going after “Mafia Inc.” first off by continuing the attack on the finances of the mob which laundered through legal businesses and other assets. In January it was announced that new measures had been developed and were being implemented by Italian law enforcement to help fight the Mafia with an emphasis on even stronger assets seizures. Former prime minister Enrico Letta said it would be a relentless commitment on behalf of the Italian government to take down the Mafia and get important results because it was in line with the spirit of the country.
Over the last several years Italian mafia families located in the more impoverished south including Cosa Nostra in Sicily, Ndrangheta in Calabria, and Camorra in Naples have shifted their dirty money and investments to the more affluent northern part of the country. In the country’s capital city of Rome assets including companies and property totaling more then 1.2 billions dollars linked to the mafia have been seized by authorities. In total since 1992 across the country law enforcement has seized assets totaling more the 20.4 billion dollars of suspected mob investments and fronts.
Italian authorities now believe by targeting the so called legitimate businesses and assets of the mafia is the best way to dismantle these organizations. Perhaps this anti-mafia playbook should be examined closely by U.S. law enforcement in their fight against the American mafia. The U.S. Treasury Department could designate all the New York Mafia families among others that remain as transnational criminal organizations and freeze their assets and ban American banks and companies from doing business with them under Executive Order 13581.
Only time will tell if this shift in tactics in Italy will actually lead to the dismantling of the Mafia organizations there or if the mafia will once again adapt and survive as it has done for centuries.