At dawn, the personnel of the Direzione Investigativa Antimafia and of the Carabinieri Provincial Command in Monza, with the support of the Central Investigative Unit of the Penitentiary Police, carried out, by proxy of the D.D.A. in Milan, an order of personal preventive measures against eighteen persons (seven in prison, four under house arrests, three subjected to the obligation to stay at their places of residence and four to the obligation to report to the criminal police). They are suspected in several respects of participating in a crime group involved in drug trafficking, extorsion and several economic and financial crimes, whose profits were used to facilitate the ‘ndrangheta activities, in particularly of the MORABITO – PALAMARA – BRUZZANITI cosca.
The investigation started in 2019 and continued during the Pandemic. It involved 68 persons, subdivided into two crime groups, which although being separated in terms of criminal activities (on the one hand economic-financial crimes and on the other hand drug trafficking and extorsions), they were both headed by a physician from Calabria who provided services for some health centres for elderly people in Milan. He had already been sentenced with final conviction for drug trafficking and last but not least he was the son of the historical boss of the above-mentioned cosca, who is actually detained under the regime of 41-bis based on an irrevocable sentence for mafia-type association.
One of the group involved professionals and businessmen who owned several consulting companies in the centre of Milan and had the right technical and legal know-how. The group was responsible for the following economic-financial crimes:
- Creation of the co-called società cartiere (companies issuing false or non-existent invoices), which de facto were not operational but were used to issue false invoices and cover documents in order to legitimate non-existent purchases of goods and services, with the sole purpose of providing third parties with huge “black” amounts of cash. In return for the transfers made to pay the false invoices, the third parties received huge amounts of money after several “passages” through online current accounts based in European and non-European banks so to elude control by the authorities. During the investigations it was possible to seize 50,000 euro cash coming from the above-mentioned false or non-existent invoices and reconstruct other money deliveries managed by the organization;
- Creation and sale of false insurance policies as guarantee, which were formally issued by one of the major national banking groups in favour of enterprises and sole proprietorships, which would have never obtained them since they did not have the necessary capital and/or the necessary requirements. In particular, such “false” policies were used by the aware customer to guarantee against unaware “third parties” the respect of the obligations linked to the mutual contractual obligations. On one occasion, the false insurance policies as guarantee were created in favour of companies operating in the gaming and betting sector (which would have never obtained them legally since they were subject to an anti-mafia ban issued at the end of investigations also concerning the crime of mafia-type association) in order to fulfill the economic requirements linked to the contract concluded with the State concessionaire;
- Trading of the false tax credits “Ricerca & Sviluppo”. The tax credits were transferred to third companies, which, aware of their fictitious origin, used them to offset the payment of taxes and pension contributions. Such credits were created by another crime group with headquarters in the province of Naples and made up of professionals (accountants, experts and engineers), some of whom had already been convicted for a similar offence;
- Organizing aggravated frauds to the detriment of the State in order to obtain funds and allowances foreseen by the COVID 19 provisions. The investigations revealed on the one hand that such sums had actually been obtained and on the other hand they prevented, through the timely involvement of the judicial authority, the unlawful payment of sums and economic benefits (as guaranteed funding and tax credits) for about 2 million euros, for which the proper cover documents had already been prepared. On one occasion, in order to take advantage of a rule aimed at favoring the capitalization of the company during the Pandemic, fictitious capital increases had been created through false balances, using, also thanks to complaisant experts and public officers, foreign securities of doubtful and uncertain value, whose technical standards did not comply with those provided for by the law.
The organization had reinvested the proceeds of the above-mentioned crimes and in particular of the crimes committed to the detriment of the State to create, together with other persons suspected of belonging to the ‘ndranghteta commercial companies with the purpose of operating in other sectors, such as the building sector – taking advantage of the ECOBONUS – waste gathering and disposal, fuel trading and large-scale distribution.
The other crime group committed several crimes relating to the importation. purchase, transportation and sale on the market in Northern Italy (Milan, Turin and other provinces) and Calabria of hundreds of kilos of drugs (cocaine, heroin, marijuana and hashish) and managed a company involved in the recovery of debts by means of the conventional methods used by mafia-type organizations, also with weapons, if needed.
To reach its goals the crime groups made use of:
- logistics and operational bases where the group members could meet and store the drugs in Paderno Dugnano;
- cellular phones registered for third persons, which were frequently changed and used for the communications on the illicit activities;
- motor vehicles for the drug transportation, which were often purposely rent or provided by one of the suspects.
The investigation also traced back the foreign supply channels and on the occasion of the interception of one sale, it was possible to arrest the courier in flagrante delicto and seize 5 kilos of heroin, which were destined for the market of Calabria. Several drug purchases and sales were documented, for a total amount of 50 kilos of heroin, 150 kilos of marijuana and about 50 kilos of hashish coming from Spain, Austria, Albania. A sale channel was opened to sell the cocaine coming from Peru and Brazil and destined for the members of a well-known ‘ndrangheta family.
Searches are still underway in the provinces of Milan, Monza Brianza, Pavia, Varese, Novara, Alessandria, Messina and Foggia, in the houses and companies used by the persons involved, also with the support of the currency dog units of the Guardia di Finanza.
Today’s operation testifies the continued commitment from the judicial authority in Milan, which through the synergic activities carried out by the Direzione Investigativa Antimafia and by all the law enforcement agencies is focused on the fight against crime groups responsible for serious crimes, including drug trafficking, fraud and any other forms of economic-financial crimes.
The dissemination of this press release is in compliance with the provisions of the Legislative Decree no 188/2021, believing that the information is in public interest, particularly as to the fight against the crime of mafia-type association with the aggravating circumstance of the mafia method, which severely jeopardizes the interests of the community.
The persons involved in preliminary investigations have the right to be presumed innocent and not guilty until the potential conviction becomes irrevocable.
Milan, 24 October 2023
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