Italian Mafias eyeing EU’s billions in recovery funds

ROME (AP) – Italy’s anti-Mafia investigators issued a dramatic warning on Friday that mobsters will scheme to get some of hundreds of billions of euros in European Union (EU) recovery aid after the pandemic.

As EU country leaders were huddling in Brussels about the amount and conditions for aid, the paramilitary general heading Italy’s anti-Mafia investigative agency DIA said mobsters are surely already mapping strategies to tap into some of that money, including through corruption or exploiting the country’s notoriously slow, inefficient bureaucracy.

Carabinieri General Giuseppe Governale in an interview with RAI state TV likened the expected windfall of aid after COVID-19 devastated much of Europe’s economy to mammoth reconstruction following World War II.

“Hundreds of billions (of euros) will pour into Europe and Italy, and at this point, the Mafia won’t stand around and watch,” Governale said.

“The Mafia will dive into this sea” of money.

Italy’s several crime syndicates have often used intimidation or connivance to win public works contracts in the country.