Corsica – known in France as the “Island of Beauty” – is also known as Europe’s murder capital. With three killings so far this year, the Mediterranean island looks unlikely to lose its grim reputation.
Corsica, the European capital of murder, has had a bloody 2013 so far.
On Friday, the third violent killing in just over two months demonstrated that the island’s runaway murder rate – almost all “settling of scores” gangland assassinations – is by no means abating.
The Friday night killing of 38-year-old Anthony Galliot, who was a ringleader in an audacious robbery of 668 kg of gold in Switzerland in 2004, is the third in 2013 and follows 20 such murders in 2012.
On February 14, nighclub owner Dominique Laorenzi was shot while driving in the Corsican capital Ajaccio, and a fortnight later an agricultural worker was gunned down in front of his rural home in the north of the island.
Police also recorded two attempted murders involving firearms in January and February.
Galliot was shot on the terrace of a bar in the coastal town of Sainte-Lucie de Porto-Veccio in the south of the island.
He was a well known member of Corsica’s criminal underworld, having been convicted for his role in the 2004 gold robbery at Marin, in Neuchatel, Switzerland.
Having already served part of his 10-year sentence, Galliot was released on bail following his conviction.
Prosecutors alleged that Galliot and three other members of his gang had “laundered” the stolen gold through contacts in Lyon in southeastern France.
None of the gold, or the cash proceeds, has ever been recovered.
Of the 106 murders since 2008 in Corsica, which has a permanent population of just 300,000, 54 have been linked to the local “mafia”.
In September, Ajaccio’s prosecutor told FRANCE 24 that none of the murders linked to organised crime on the island that year had produced any significant leads.
He admitted that police were at a near-total loss as to how to deal effectively with a high murder rate on an island that nevertheless has extremely low levels of petty crime.
Notable among last year’s killings was that of defence lawyer Antoine Sollacaro, who was gunned down in broad daylight at a petrol station near his offices in Ajaccio.
Date created : 2013-03-02