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Young loan sharks arrested after charging 500%

Police say Genoa group drove people out of town with threats

24 January, 14:34
Young loan sharks arrested after charging 500% (ANSA) - Genoa, January 24 - Three young adults in their early 20s, described as living the high life with expensive cars, trips and nights on the town, were arrested Friday for loan-sharking.

The trio, ranging from 21 to 23 years old, charged interest rates as high as 500% on loans to businesses in Genoa struggling to survive in a severe recession, and threatened and harassed anyone too slow with repayments, police said.

The pressure, including late penalties as high as 5,000 euros, drove some people to move from Genoa to escape the loan sharks' harassment, police added.

They also allege the gang used the proceeds of their loan-shark operation for other illegal activities and have seized a Range Rover, a Ford Fiesta and documents.