Italy: Anti-mafia police arrest 35 suspects in northern Lombardy region

Police overnight arrested 35 people in northern Italy who are suspected of links to the Calabrian mafia and impounded some two million euros of assets. The 35 mafia suspects face charges of extortion, illegal waste disposal and drug trafficking, police said.

The operation was coordinated by anti-mafia prosecutors in the northern business capital, Milan.

Lombardy, the affluent region around Milan has fallen victim to a “full-fledged colonisation”, Italy’s national anti-mafia directorate warned in a report last week.

The Calabrian mafia or ‘Ndrangheta is continuing to grow in Italy and abroad thanks to “unlimited” financial resources, the report said.

The ‘Ndrangheta is considered Italy’s most powerful crime syndicate, whose financial clout has been estimated at more than 3 percent of Italy’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The mafia is one of the biggest reasons for chronically sluggish growth in Italy – the European Union’s fourth largest economy – the Italian central bank governor Mario Draghi said last Friday.