The Mafia Capitale: Wiseguys, migrants, & Rome

The modern Italian state is one of the youngest in Europe, and though nominal unification was climaxed by the declaration of Rome as capital in 1871, the state we see today wasn’t completed until after World War I.

The fragmented nature of Italy in the 19th Century gave rise to a variety of criminal syndicates, the most famous being Sicily’s La Cosa Nostra, the Calabria-based Ndrangheta, and the Naples-based Camorra.

While American’s typically use the word mafia to mean the version of La Cosas Nostra brought to the United States by immigrants in the late 19th Century, the term is used more loosely in Italy to mean any criminal syndicate [thus, for example, the Ndrangheta is typically describe as a mafia].

The criminal case dominating Italian news media in recent months has been the prosecution of the Capitale Mafia, an organized crime syndicate responsible for corrupting the Roman municipal government and preying on migrants and the Roma [the group known commonly as Gypsies].

Agence France-Presse describes the key players and their scams:

Massimo Carminati, a convicted gangster with a history of involvement with violent far-right groups, and 45 others are accused of operating a mafia-style network that used extortion, fraud and theft to divert millions of euros destined for public services into their own pockets.

Carminati and his alleged right-hand man Salvatore Buzzi, a convicted murderer, followed Thursday’s opening session in Rome’s criminal court by video link from their prison cells, their presence in court having been deemed a security risk.


Prosecutors say the racketeering in Rome went on for years, helped to bring the city to the brink of financial collapse and contributed to the current sorry state of its infrastructure and many of its public services.

Among those on trial are local politicians, businessmen and officials.

All are implicated in rigging tenders and other corrupt schemes designed to siphon off cash destined for everything from garbage recycling to the reception of newly-arrived refugees.

In this short documentary, a French broadcaster looks at the syndicate and their operations.

From FRANCE 24 English:

Italy: “Mafia Capitale”: Investigation on the vast mafia network on trial in Rome

Program notes:

In November 2015, the trial of a vast mafia network opened in Rome, with 46 people in the dock. They stand accused of extortion, corruption and misappropriation of public funds. Among them the reputed heads of the criminal network: Massimo Carminati and Savatore Buzzi. Our correspondent in Rome, Natalia Mendoza, investigated the power bases of these two men who are under the legal spotlight.

In Rome, an investigation codenamed Mafia Capitale has brought to light the existence of a vast mafia network that has infiltrated local government. The probe has exposed a well-oiled machine made up of politicians from all sides, local civil servants, businessmen and criminals – all allegedly mixed up in dirty deals involving various sectors managed by the city council for well over a decade.

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