Lombardy round-up reveals 'entrepreneurial Mafia'
Daughter of Berlusconi's ex-stable keeper among those arrested24 September, 13:49
The probe revealed an "entrepreneurial mafia" building commercial profits as well as illegal gains for "an association that utilizes the strength of its criminal history and reputation...not to carry out exclusively and obviously illegal actions but to enter into the economic fabric of the assigned zone and gain economic benefit from it," Milan anti-mafia magistrate Stefania Donadeo wrote in the arrest order.
Milan police arrested, among others, the daughter and son-in-law of Silvio Berlusconi's ex-stable keeper from the early 1970's, Vittorio Mangano, who was believed by investigators to be a prominent member of Sicily's Cosa Nostra mafia.
Mangano died of cancer in prison in 2000. He was serving time for drug-trade and extortion charges, and also faced a life sentence for two murders in 1995.
Giuseppe Porto, believed to have been a right-hand man of Mangano's, was also arrested on Tuesday. Investigators believe Mangano's daughter and son-in-law, Cinzia Mangano and Enrico Di Grusa, respectively, handled huge sums of money to support criminal fugitives and invest in new businesses, thus infiltrating the Lombard economy.
State police investigators believe they revealed a complex network of cooperatives working in logistics and service sectors that turned under-the-table profits in 2007 through false invoicing and labour exploitation.
Investigators say the profits were then ploughed into maintaining Cosa Nostra fugitives and to make new business investments in Lombardy.
Charges against those arrested include conspiracy to commit mafia crimes, extortion, fake invoicing, facilitation and employment of illegal workers. Berlusconi, a real-estate developer who founded a media empire and became Italian premier three times, employed Vittorio Mangano as his stable keeper from 1973-1975 at his villa in the town of Arcore, near Milan. Mangano already had a long criminal record dating back to the 1960s, and is suspected having a role in the kidnapping of a dinner guest of Berlusconi's in December 1974.
Anti-mafia magistrate Paolo Borsellino, who was murdered in 1992 in Palermo in a notorious Cosa Nostra car-bombing, believed Mangano was a key conduit for laundering illicit funds in Lombardy.