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article imageItaly warned mafia could infiltrate Genoa bridge reconstruction

By AFP     Oct 10, 2018 in World

Italy's anti-corruption authority warned the government Wednesday it had left the door open to mafia infiltration in the reconstruction of a bridge in Genoa that collapsed in August, killing 43 people.

A plan to waiver regulations to speed up the reconstruction process "also entails the waiver of the antimafia code", the body's president Raffaele Cantone told a lower house of parliament hearing.

"There are many activities linked to the reconstruction, from the movement of earth to the disposal of rubble, in which mafia companies, unfortunately, have undoubted know-how," he said.

The decades-old viaduct crumbled in a storm, slamming down onto railway tracks along with dozens of vehicles in a disaster which stunned and angered the country.

The government has come under pressure for moving too slowly with the reconstruction process, but Cantone warned that awarding the contract to replace the collapsed Morandi bridge without a public tender could facilitate organised crime.

He said the mafia was "looking to infiltrate" the northern Italian region of Liguria, telling parliament that "a very high barrier against this risk is therefore necessary".

Italy's main organised crime groups -- Sicily's Cosa Nostra, Naples' Camorra and Calabria's 'Ndrangheta -- are all rooted in southern Italy.

But in recent decades they have been expanding into the richer north, increasingly eschewing violent crime as they seek to infiltrate the business and political worlds to make money.

Police believe the 'Ndrangheta in particular is using legitimate activities in the north to recycle the huge amounts of cash that their illicit drugs business generates.

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