LAMEZIA TERME, Italy: Italy’s largest mafia trial in more than 30 years opened on Wednesday, as prosecutors seek to strike a blow against the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate, whose tentacles reach worldwide.
More than 350 alleged members of the mafia and the politicians, lawyers, businessmen and others accused of enabling them face a judge in a specially converted courtroom in the southern Calabrian town of Lamezia Terme, in the heart of ‘Ndrangheta territory.
They are accused of a web of crimes dating back to the 1990s, both bloody and white-collar, including murder, drug trafficking, extortion, money laundering and abuse of office. Anti-mob prosecutor Nicola Gratteri said it was an “important day”, telling reporters outside court that the trial would “give the idea of what the Calabrian mafia is today — no longer a mafia of shepherds dedicated to kidnapping, but a major criminal corporation”. He later sat in the front row of the courtroom as Judge Tiziana Macri began reading out the names of the defendants.