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160 mn seized from 'Ndrangheta-linked businessman

Companies, real estate, motor vehicles taken from Mob builder

(ANSA) - ROME, AUG 11 - Italian police on Thursday seized 160 million euros in assets from an 'Ndrangheta-linked businessman in Reggio Calabria.
    They said the man, Carmelo Ficara, had close ties to the Calabrian mafia.
    From the mid 80s to 2017, they said, he relied on these links to build a construction empire in and around the Calabrian capital.
    Among the assets seized were seven companies active in the building and real estate sector, 99 pieces of property and 16 motor vehicles.
    Ficraa was sentenced to 12 years in jail in December for external association with the Calabrian Mob.
    'Ndrangheta has spread from its Calabrian heartlands to the rest of Italy, Europe and around the world, and is considered Italy's richest and most powerful mafia due to its control of the European cocaine trade from South America.
    'Ndrangheta (from a Greek word meaning 'heroism' or 'virtue') once lived in the twin shadow of Cosa Nostra in Sicily and the Camorra in Naples.
    While those two syndicates, notably the Sicilians, were feeding off the transatlantic heroin trade through operations like the infamous 'French connection', 'Ndrangheta was only just emerging from its traditional stock-in-trade of kidnappings in the Calabrian highlands.
    It has since become a highly sophisticated global network with a chokehold on the European cocaine trade and control over swathes of its home turf where police fear to tread, Italian officials say.
    As well as being the richest, 'Ndrangheta is also regarded as the most impenetrable of Italy's mafias, with its close-knit family-based organisation outdoing the Sicilian mafia in its ability to defeat police efforts to turn members into State witnesses.
    The European law enforcement agency Europol has identified 'Ndrangheta as one of the "most threatening" organized crime groups on the global level, due to its "enormous financial might" and "immense corruptive power," with a presence in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, USA, Colombia and Australia, where 'Ndrangheta turf wars have gained headlines.
    In Europe, 'Ndrangheta really only came into the public eye in 2007, when six clan members were gunned down on the midsummer Ferragosto holiday in the German city of Duisburg in a feud that began as a wedding spat in a Calabrian coastal town, San Luca, in 1991. (ANSA).


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