Mafia “a cancer” in Lombardy

400-page report commissioned by Lombardy region.

Eight years after the then regional governor (and later minister of the interior) Roberto Maroni had denied the presence of the mafia in the north, that same government has now admitted that organised crime has spread “like a cancer” through the region.

A report drawn up at the government’s request by the University of Milan – the first of its kind – and published by the Pirellone examines the region province by province, describing the “silent assault” by organised crime syndicates on politicians and local administrations.

The report (a 40-page summary in Italian is available here) examines investigations by the magistrature, data provided by the interior ministry, sworn statements, testimony and news reports to draw up a portrait of the activity, methods and zones of influence across Lombardy, concluding that a “process of colonisation” began in the mid-1900s and has led increasingly to local administrators being either corrupted or intimidated into resignation.

The team of researchers chaired by Fernando dalla Chiesa, himself son of a Carabinieri general assassinated by the Sicilian mafia, pinpoints Milan as the focus of white-collar organised crime, starting with infiltration in Buccinasco and Corsico boroughs and leading up to the infiltration of Expo Milano 2015. The more violent side of the mafia, with extortion, protection payment demands and control over the territory, is concentrate more in Milan’s Brianza hinterland.

The region has been targeted, states the report, by Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian syndicate once seen by the general public as synonymous with “the Mafia”, by far the richest and most powerful and well versed in infiltration of social and professional circles. But also the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta, with a lower profile and sharper sense of strategy, has colonised smaller towns and villages throughout Lombardy, including Bergamo, Brescia and Mantova.