Politicians among arrested syndicate members in Italy

Italian police have arrested 44 people, many of them politicians, suspected of involvement with the alleged leader of a crime syndicate that rigged public contracts in Rome and the surrounding region.

Officers took local politicians from both the left and right into custody on Thursday, including regional councillor Luca Gramazio from Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, who is accused of serving as a go-between for corrupt businessmen and the mob.

The investigation, led by Italy’s anti-mafia police, also focused on 21 other suspects whose businesses or offices were being searched. The arrests were the second stage in an inquiry that saw the alleged mob leader, Massimo Carminati, and 36 others, including a former mayor of Rome, arrested in December.

The gang was said to have been illegally involved in recycling and rubbish disposal in Rome, as well as the maintenance of parks and cycling paths and bad weather response.

Police believe that as well as rigging contracts given out by municipal authorities, the network also conspired to skim off cash from centres established to house asylum seekers and recently-arrived migrants.

Rome’s mayor, Ignazio Marino, welcomed the arrests. He said: “Politics in the past gave a bad example, but today … we have honest people who want to restitute quality of life and all the rights and dignity the capital deserves.”

Source: The Gaurdian