migrant reception centers are often run under contract by companies
linked to social cooperative organizations, often tied to the Catholic
6/5/15, "Italy junior minister investigated in corruption probe," Reuters
6/4/15, "Italian police arrest 44 over migrant center corruption," Reuters
"Italian police said they arrested 44 people on Thursday suspected of
being part of a network of corrupt politicians and business people in
Rome accused of rigging public contracts to manage migrant reception
The arrests follow the discovery of a vast system of corruption in the Rome city government last year -- a case dubbed "Mafia Capital"
which prompted the city hall to ask the national anti-corruption
authority to investigate a list of suspect public contracts.
Rome police said search warrants were also issued against another 21
people in the area around Rome, L'Aquila in central Italy and Catania
and Enna in Sicily.
They said the investigation had uncovered a widespread system
designed to allow a cartel of companies to win lucrative public
contracts to manage migrant reception centers.
The centers, often run on contract by cooperative social
organizations, have proved a rich source of income for unscrupulous
operators as the Mediterranean migrant boat crisis has intensified,
leaving authorities struggling to deal with the tens of thousands of
"We need to stop the boat departures and stop the public tenders
immediately," Matteo Salvini, head of the anti-immigrant Northern League
party said following the latest arrests.
The case has underlined the persistent problem of political
corruption in Italy, which ranked 69 out of 177 countries in the latest
index by Transparency International, the global anti-corruption group.
Police said "Mafia Capital" was based around a network running back
over many years in Rome involving local politicians, business people and
criminals linked to violent neo-fascist groups active in the 1970s and
They said the cartel had been able to secure "significant economic
benefits" by fixing public contracts to manage migrant reception centers
and excluding rival bidders.
In addition to the "Mafia Capital" case last year, there were also
high profile scandals around the award of public contracts for the Milan
Expo and the Venice flood barrier corporation."