The Italian government announced that assets worth around 4 billion euros were seized from the mafia in 2008, three times the total of last year. Some 60% of the assets were composed of real estate holdings.
AFP - Italian authorities seized property worth some four billion euros (5.6 billion dollars) from mafia suspects this year, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said Monday.
The haul is more than three times the total for 2007, Maroni told an end-of-year news conference, noting that "we have succeeded in separating the fate of mafiosi from that of their property."
Property confiscated from mafiosi no longer goes to their heirs when they die, Maroni said. "Now, it remains confiscated and continues to belong to the public."
Law enforcement authorities will continue to "hit mafia money" next year, Maroni said, adding: "Confiscated buildings should be turned over quickly to the community, and confiscated businesses should be enabled quickly to reopen for work."
Legal red tape surrounding mafia property seized in Italy takes years to sort through.
The property seized this year included a yellow Ferrari 512, Maroni said, joking that he had asked for the car to be put at his disposal "but they said no."
Instead, police will ride in the Ferrari and a confiscated black Porsche Cayenne "in the places where the mafia rode before, to drive home the fact that the climate has changed," he said.
Last month, Maroni inaugurated a tourist complex in Sicily's most famous mafia town, Corleone, on a sprawling property that was owned by former supremo Toto Riina, who has been in prison serving multiple life terms since 1993.
The hotel, restaurant and shop will open to the public next year.
Date created : 2008-12-22