Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Zeitgeist: Mafia Cash Increases Grip on Sinking Italy Defying Berlusconi

This goes in the zeitgeist file because we are going to see more and more reports along these lines and not limited to Italy. Some of our previous mobonomics posts:
Mafia crime is 7% of GDP in Italy, group reports
I am unsure whether these gentlemen participate in the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme.
The easy joke, of course, is that they set it up....
Why the Mafia Loves Garbage
Mafia link to Sicily wind farms probed
So a Sicilian mafioso walks into HSBC…
Here's the headline story, from Bloomberg:
In the southern Italian port city of Palermo, home to bustling outdoor markets and Arab-influenced architecture, prosecutor Roberto Scarpinato has hunted Mafia money for two decades.

Now, as the rest of the world tightens its belt in the global recession, he’s tracking how the mob is profiting by lending and investing what’s become a scarce commodity these days: a growing hoard of cash.

Scarpinato points to the 2.7 billion euros ($3.8 billion) of assets he’s seized on the island of Sicily, where Palermo is located, since the start of 2008. In one haul, he confiscated 12 businesses, 220 buildings, 33 plots of land and a 25-meter (82- foot) yacht from grocery-chain owner Giuseppe Grigoli.

Known as Sicily’s king of supermarkets, Grigoli, 59, is on trial in Marsala for running the food stores and other enterprises at the behest of the Sicilian Mafia. He denies the criminal charge of being a member of an organized crime group.

Unlike overleveraged companies burned in the credit crisis, the Mafia and its cash-based, debt-free business model are breezing through economic hard times. With young, savvy leaders at the helm, organized crime is poised to expand as legitimate companies founder....MORE