Even Mafia fails to escape grips of recession

 

Rome

Even the Mafia is not immune to the lingering recession, according to new reports that suggest a merciless spending review is causing serious discontent in Sicily’s Cosa Nostra.

The axe, which is falling chiefly on hand-outs to junior mobsters, family members and hangers-on, has exacerbated the fall in “earnings” already taking place thanks to a police blitz on extortion rackets.

Only the big Mafia bosses will be spared the social security cuts. Those worst affected have been the relatives of jailed mobsters, prompting their wives and girlfriends to lead the backlash, Italian press reports said.

The insight into the mob’s own financial crisis has been illustrated by wiretaps of Palermo’s Noce clan, based in the centre of the Sicilian capital. This section of the Mafia was particularly hard hit last October in a series of raids organised by Palermo’s three anti-Mafia magistrates – Francesco Del Bene, Lia Sava and Gianluca De Leo – which saw 41 Mafia suspects arrested. La Repubblica says this brought Cosa Nostra “to its knees” in its Sicilian heartland.

In one of the telephone calls recorded by investigators, the wife of a recently jailed mobster is heard complaining about the financial situation to a female friend in a similar position. “I have to look after myself, I have to look after my husband and I have to look after my children,” she said. “November, December, January and then I didn’t seen anyone. It’s not right that they abandon my husband.”

Significantly, she went on to say that she intended to go right to the top and speak to clan boss Renzo Lo Nigro, who assumed the role after the October raids. Mr Lo Nigro was one of six people held this morning as a result of the surveillance.

A couple of years ago it was predicted that organised crime in Italy might prosper from the economic downturn, with the likelihood that businesses caught in the credit crunch would be forced to accept offers of finance from underworld sources.

But the new claims appear to back earlier reports that suggested many mobsters were being hit hard by the drawn-out recession. Mafia expert and author Corrado De Rosa, who has just published Mafia da Legare (Mad Mafia) with the journalist Laura Galesi, said the news of the Mafia spending cuts underlined how the mob acted as “an anti-state, alternative welfare system”. But he added the willingness of Mafia wives to speak out marked a major departure. “Twenty years ago... this would never have happened.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Anna Smaill’s debut novel, The Chimes, is a fusion of fantasy and romance
booksMan Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Sport
Ji So-Yun scores the only goal of the game
sport
Arts and Entertainment
One of the Pyongyang posters, the slogan of which reads: ‘Let the exploits of the northern railway conductors shine!’
art
Life and Style
Linguine with mussels and fresh tomatoes
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer