„Mafia? No Thanks!“ 

Since a few days I am a brand-new member of a German association called „Mafia? Nein Danke!“ (Mafia?NoThanks!) founded by Laura Garavini, a member of the Italian parliament and a member of the Italian-German parliamentary group, shortly after the killings in Duisburg in August 2007 by ’ndrangheta, the mafia of Calabria. Only a few weeks later, the same organization tried to extort money from restaurants in Berlin. But they failed. Over 40 restaurant owners stand together with the support of Mafia?NeinDanke! and denounced the racketeers. They were all arrested in the last night of the year 2007. Since then, Mafia?NeinDanke! is active in informing about the activities in Germany of the 4 Italian criminal organizations Camorra, ’ndrangheta, Sacra Corona Unita and the Sicilian Mafia.

This week they co-organized a conference in Berlin that took place on July 12th in the Italian embassy in Berlin: „For freedom and security – how do we approach the organized crime in Europe?” The list of speakers was very high-level: Italian and German prosecutors, politicians, journalists, judges, scientists, experts on money-laundering, Europol and I learned many lessons about the Italian mafias in Germany.

Did you know that:

  • That Germany is the country #1 for laundering of mafia’s bloody money?
  • There are 600 mafiosi known names in Germany of which 300 are from ’ndrangheta alone?
  • Every Euro you spend for fake Prada or illegal cigarettes as well as obviously for drugs are making mafia richer?
  • That if you go to the Oktoberfest or Café at/near Marienplatz in Munich mafia is sitting at your table?
  • That mafia is dealing with faked drugs like Viagra and that „faked drugs are the new cocaine“ as the revenue is enormous?

The dutch flower market is infiltrated by ’ndrangheta, many real estate assets near the German Ostküste (Eastern Sea) are in Mafia’s hands as well. Mafia is globalizing and so should Anti-Mafia. European laws need to harmonize here, we all have to learn from Italians here. But there is still a log way to go, although some first steps have been finally made this year: in April German parliament finally passed a law that allows prosecutors to confiscate money or other assets of members of mafia and in May a new law against money laundering was adopted. What is still missing is the rest of the necessary anti-mafia-package of laws and regulations: we need a law that being a member of a mafia organization is already a crime, we need a better regulation to protect former mafia bosses who want to collaborate with the authorities (similar to the „Kronzeugenregelung“ introduced during terrorism in Germany in the seventies), but above all we need a mafia specific regulation that it is up to the person suspicious of being a mafioso to demonstrate where his money comes from. At the conference the ministers of interior announced instead celebrated their successes. (Here is a summary in German). But they are not enough.

Why should we care? Why should YOU care as well?

Well, the huge amount of illegal money in the hands of Mafia affects us all sooner or later. It threatens democracy and fair rules. Mafia is involved in public tenders. YOUR COMPANY might be losing a tender because mafia imposes his own vendors. YOUR COMPANY might lose against a competitor because mafia can offer lower prices. Remember: they don’t need to make profit, they only need to launder the dirty money. If your company looses, you loose: Best case, your bonus. Worst case, your job.

You meet them everywhere: Mafia is involved in drug business (remember when you smoke your next joint), in human trafficking (sex workers, refugees, forced labour i.e. in meat industry, etc.), in the entire food chain (!) (think about the bad Döner meat), in faked medicine/drugs as above, in game of hazard/slot machines, in waste business, above all very dangerous waste, fake clothing / „fake Prada“, illegal (and fake) cigarettes as well.

To be more concrete: ’Ndrangheta is active in Tübingen, Ravensburg, Berlin, Freiburg, Donau-Eschingen, Villingen-Schwenningen, Frankfurt, Ludwigsburg, Mannheim, Singen, Stuttgart, Münster, München, Nürnberg, Kassel, Marburg, Dresden, Leipzig, Riesa, Wismar, Erfurt, Weimar, Saarbrücken, Siegburg, Krefeld, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Hagen, Köln, Aachen, Bochum, Detmold, Essen, Gelsenkirchen.

The independent journalists of CORRECTIV put together many articles about Mafia in Germany (and Italy). You can find them here.

The huge amount of money (mostly from drugs) is invested/laundered in legal businesses, representing unfair competition. To YOUR COMPANY. If you live in Italy, democracy is directly affected by mafia, influencing the results of elections. Selling and buying votes. That is not fair, not democratic. Mafia puts at risk our democracies and affects our lives – in Italy more than in Germany, but also in Germany we are not Mafia- free.

Not at all.