Series (6): European money for the Mafia?

Today: Nicola Gratteri, a hero of modern times. The Prosecutor General of Castanzaro, who has had hundreds of Mafiosi indicted and convicted, will officiate in Naples in the future.

Nicola Gratteri, the "mafia hunter", will be the Prosecutor General in Naples soon. Foto: Niccolò Caranti / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

(Kai Littmann) – As long as there are men like Nicola Gratteri, there is hope that Italy can one day defeat organised crime. For three decades, the Prosecutor General from Castanzaro in Calabria, who will in future be based in Naples, has been fighting organised crime in Italy and abroad. Over a thousand indictments against mafiosi, several hundred convictions, drug trafficking systems destroyed all over the world – no wonder the man is constantly under the protection of bodyguards. For Nicola Gratteri, who is also the author of several books on the functioning of mafia structures, lives dangerously as organised crime’s “enemy number one”.

The man even almost became Minister of Justice in Italy under the Renzi government. But it was the then Italian President Giorgio Napolitano who vetoed it and preferred Andrea Orlando to him, a man who obviously suited the powers-that-be in Italy better.

However, this did not stop Nicola Gratteri from continuing his fight against organised crime. “I swore an oath on the Constitution,” he once said, “and since all citizens are equal before the law, that alone dictates my behaviour.” Many politicians, big businessmen and civil servants have had to experience this first hand, because Nicola Gratteri does not hand out gifts.

Nicolas Gratteri may not be the only honest prosecutor in Italy, but he is undoubtedly the most media-savvy, thanks to his successes in the fight against organised crime. For this reason, the powerful Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) felt obliged to appoint him this week as Prosecutor General in Naples, in the stronghold of the Camorra, one of the three major organised crime structures in Italy. While in Castanzaro, where Gratteri previously worked, he primarily fought the ‘Ndrangheta (whose estimated annual turnover is more than 50 billion euros), now the Neapolitan Camorra and its helpers have to worry. For Nicola Gratteri is not taking up this post in Naples at the head of Italy’s largest prosecutor’s office to be an extra.

But even Gratteri’s appointment in Naples shows the influence of organised crime in the state authorities. In the CSM vote, 19 members of this council had voted for Gratteri, but 13 voted against him, and one must assume that these 13 votes against certainly had reasons for wanting to prevent Gratteri from coming to Naples and cleaning up.

Of course, Prosecutor Gratteri also reminds us of Judge Falcone, who was murdered by the mafia in 1992. It is good to see that there are brave men and women in Italy who do not accept that the country is ruled by criminal organisations, corrupt politicians and judges and by companies that carry “il sistema”. They should be supported in their fight against this hydra that has infiltrated all levels of the state and the economy, and not only in Italy.

It is to be hoped that personalities like Nicola Gratteri will succeed in pushing back the influence of “il sistema” on the Italian state. And of course, we hope that men like Nicola Gratteri can help companies that have been harmed by “il sistema” to finally find justice in Italian and European courts!

We have advanced this article because the European Commission has asked us for a few more days to send us their answers to our questions. Therefore, in the next article in this series, we will show you what the European Commission thinks about the ENI – SNAM – Bonatti scandal in relation to the gas pipeline projects in Italy, some of which served to co-finance organised crime in Italy.

Already published in this series:

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Article 1
Article 2 (special issue)
Article 3
Article 4
Article 5

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