Mafia received $53m in state funds after taking over migrant centre

Tuesday, 16 May 2017, 05:22:11 AM. Italian mobsters have been in charge of one of Europe's largest migrant centres for more than a decade, prosecutors say.
Photo: Soldiers patrol the Isola di Capo Rizzuto migrant centre in southern Italy. (AP: Francesco Arena, ANSA, file) Italian mobsters took charge of one of Europe's largest migrant reception centres, using a Roman Catholic charity organisation as a cover to skim millions of euros in state funds, prosecutors have revealed. Police arrested 68 people in early morning raids in southern Italy, including a priest and the head of the local Misericordia association that manages the Sant'Anna Cara immigrant centre in the town of Isola Capo Rizzuto. The fenced-in centre can house up to 1,200 migrants, and mobsters from the powerful 'Ndrangheta mafia managed to infiltrate the operation a decade ago, taking charge of key services such as catering and laundry, prosecutors said. Of some 103 million euros ($152 million) of state funds dispatched to the centre between 2006-2015, at least 36 million euros ($53 million) finished in the hands of the mobsters, police said. "If 500 migrants had to have lunch, just 250 meals would arrive at the centre. The other 250 would either have to eat in the evening, or else the next day," prosecutor Nicola Gratteri told a news conference. "In the meantime the head of the Misericordia, the priest and their friends grew fat, bought luxury cars, flats and boats." There was no immediate comment from any of those arrested. The Florence-based national Misericordia association said in a statement it had full faith in the judiciary and was placing the southern...Read more
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