Italian Mafia Treats Swiss Covid Funds For Expansion
The Italian mafia has found ways to expand and steal millions from Switzerland during the coronavirus pandemic, state broadcaster RTS reported on Wednesday.
This content was published on May 12, 2021 – 12:19 PM
RTS / swissinfo.ch / ds
“We see that the money allocated to companies in the form of Covid loans goes very quickly abroad”, explains Nicoletta della Valle, director of the Federal Office of Police (Fedpol). “The banks are reporting these observations to us.”
To date, Fedpol’s Money Laundering Information Office (MROS) estimates that at least CHF 180 million ($ 199 million) has been stolen from government loans issued to compensate for financial damage to the bank. coronavirus pandemic. It is unlikely that this money will return to Switzerland.
Anti-mafia law enforcement officials also fear that the Italian mafia could massively benefit from the funds allocated to Italy as part of the European Union’s Covid recovery fund (220 billion francs). In Sicily, the powerful Italian trade organization Confcommercio says La Cosa Nostra is on the verge of taking over the island’s entire economy.
The mafia phenomenon remains difficult to define in Switzerland. But Fedpol talks about multiple forms of crime: arms trafficking, human trafficking, drugs, counterfeit money, receiving stolen goods and money laundering.
+ More than 400 mafiosi in Switzerland
“We underestimated it for a long time”, mainly because these crimes are prosecuted at cantonal level, says della Valle. “We treated them, I would say, like normal crimes, and we didn’t see the Mafia ties. And now, over time, after analyzing old criminal records, we realize that this was not a homicide but a Mafia-related murder.
Police analysis revealed the extent and depth of Mafia activities in Switzerland. Cantonal prosecutors have confirmed to RTS that the murder, fraud and arms trafficking cases in Zurich and Italian Switzerland suggest links to Calabria’s Ndrangheta.
In Geneva, according to RTS reports, the Mafia has made inroads into the construction, drug and money laundering sectors.
“The presence of the Italian mafia in Switzerland dates back more than 40 years”, explains the head of Fedpol. “Their grandfathers came to Switzerland, Thurgau, Biel and Bern. And now their grandchildren are starting to do business, they are all over Switzerland. There are even mafiosi who speak Swiss German better than Italian.
Ticino University Observatory
Some media reports speak of 400 people linked to the mafia in Switzerland. But according to RTS sources, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In order to better understand the mafia phenomenon in Switzerland, the University of Italian Switzerland inaugurated an Organized Crime Observatory on Wednesday.