Sicilian mafia bosses sentenced to 600 years for raiding EU funds

The Nebrodi godfathers have long been known to be raiding EU funds - now a major source of income for the Italian mafia.

On Monday evening, the court of Patti presided over by Ugo Scavuzzo sentenced 91 of the 101 members of “Bontempo Scavo” and the “Batanesi”, two historical gangs of Tortorici, to a combined total of 600 years in prison following a trial overseen the magistrates of the Messina prosecutor.

A blitz by the carabinieri and the financial police, triggered in January 2020, revealed a complex system of companies put in place by the unsuspected accomplices of the bosses: most of the 151 companies were based in Tortorici, a town perched on the mountains.

The nominee entrepreneurs attested to owning hundreds of plots of land, not only in the province of Messina, but throughout the island, even beyond. They were false claims.

The oldest mafia in Sicily had already invented a very modern business: the occupation of virtual pastures, with the aim of circumventing protocols designed by the former president of the Nebrodi Park, Giuseppe Antoci, to block the assignments of state-owned land to bosses and nominees .

Antoci, present at the sentencing, said: “a circle is closed and a page of history is written, a territory is freed. Since 2013 I never imagined crossing such a winding road, I never thought I had to risk my life and lose my freedom, just as I certainly never thought of contributing to creating a norm that has proven devastating for mafia organisations."

Investigating judge Salvatore Mastroeni spoke of an “evident inextricability” of the Tortorici mafia. “In spite of dozens and dozens of operations and processes, here the mafia is, absurdly, a kind of social class, as such it can be countered, but it can almost not be eliminated as a category.” The silent mafia, the evolving mafia, the “phoenix always rising.”

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Staff Reporter

Staff Reporter

EU Today's Staff Reporters cover a wide variety of topics, involving the EU, its institutions, and its 27 member states.

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