Monday, December 27, 2010

Mafia expands its normal close ties in Switzerland

12/26/10, "Italian mafia spreads in Switzerland," AFP

"Switzerland has always been a key destination for Italy's mafia bosses to launder their assets or hide their cash, but recent probes show that
  • Italian organised crime is broadening its activities there.

Some groups, in particular the 'Ndrangheta from southern Italy's Calabria region, are also investing in property and businesses here, as well as

  • trafficking arms and drugs through Switzerland, sparking alarm among Swiss law enforcers.

In one example, the head of a mafia clan who was sentenced to 21 years in prison in Calabria had lived for several years in Switzerland.
  • Another member of the mafia was extradited from Switzerland to Italy after having been sentenced to 11 years in prison for arms and explosives trafficking and concealment, said Kunfermann.
In its latest annual report, Fedpol said it expected the mafia to transfer more of their businesses to Switzerland as they were coming under increasing pressure in Italy "due to the determination of authorities." ...
  • Switzerland is also being used for "drug trafficking on a large scale" and as a hideout for mafia members being hunted by police, added Kunfermann....

In an interview with Swiss newspaper Le Temps, Ducry claimed that

  • two financial companies -- PP Finance and World Financial Services -- were controlled by members of organised crime outfits.

"They gathered money that they had stolen in part from their clients by driving the two companies into bankruptcy. They then hid a part of this money and bought land in Sardinia....

  • "Behind these figureheads, there are two or three people who go up to Calabria and who take care of these companies very intensively," said Ducry.

Stephanie Oesch, author of the book "Organised Crime, A Threat for the Swiss Financial Centre?", estimates that the Italian mafia have laundered "between 20 to 30 billion Swiss francs" (20.8 to 31.2 billion US dollars) in the past five years in Switzerland through investments in restaurants, property, art or luxury."

These illegal groups have clearly increased their presence here, a sign that

  • the law is not adapted to act efficiently against them, said Oesch, who is also researcher at the University of Zurich.

  • Ducry meanwhile warned that Switzerland was not doing enough to tackle the problem.

"Switzerland is rather slow, too bureaucratic -- in my view, examining magistrates
  • need to coordinate better their investigative work with cantons and foreign authorities."...

No comments: