New Law Aids Mafia in Recovering Confiscated Assets

Uploaded by TheVJMovement on 14.06.2011

We are in the center of Rome, in one of the most expensive neighborhoods of the Italian capital.
This building belonged to a Camorra's "capo" from Naples,
whose properties were confiscated by the state after he was arrested.
In the last 15 years, more than half of the 8,000 properties confiscated from the mafia
have started to be administered by cooperatives and associations,
thanks to a law that allows the properties to be used for social purposes.
This situation, however, has just changed
because of a new law approved by Silvio Berlusconi's government,
which says that buildings, lands and other properties confiscated from criminal groups will be auctioned.
According to the opposition and anti-mafia associations, the new law
will allow criminals to buy back their confiscated property.
The government realized the danger and immediately created the National Agency for Confiscated Assets
to avoid the risk that the mafia would buy back the confiscated goods.
Putting these assets up for sale favors the mafia,
because, in Corleone, an asset from TotÚ Riina, a building, land ...
Who can afford to buy one of these assets but only a front man for TotÚ Riina?
That's why the government gives the mafia a present with this new law.
It takes an average of seven to eight years from the time an asset is confiscated until
it becomes available for social use.
According to the government, the new National Agency for Confiscated Assets
will speed up this process and will lead to economic resources needed to fight against the mafia.
Large sums of money are needed
to increase security areas or some areas of the courts.
Therefore, we are tying to carry out a transparent management of this issue in order to
avoid it becoming a boomerang. The agency is effective in doing this.
The Libera organization, which has been leading the anti-mafia citizens' movement since 1995,
also considers the new law to be a risk.
All confiscated assets that are not assigned after 90 days of the confiscation,
or 180 days in exceptional circumstances, are put up for sale.
Unfortunately, this change in the law introduces a worrying scenario,
because we have evidence that proves that, in many cases,
the same mafia members were trying to get back their confiscated assets by using a dummy corporation.
Libera provides advice to citizens' groups that want the confiscated assets
to be used for social purposes.
Thus, lands previously owned by criminals are now used by cooperatives
that produce oil, pasta or wine -- among other products --
which are sold in the association's stores
and in the shops that support this project.
Other properties that belonged to the criminals have been made available for social use,
such as this movie theater.
The importance of confiscated assets goes beyond their economic value:
At the same time that they turned into centers with a social purpose, they also became a symbol
of the anti-mafia struggle.
You can't fight the mafia just with judicial actions, repression and criminal actions;
you also need a big social dimension.
This big social dimension should show that fighting the mafia is useful,
especially to those citizens who often live off of the money and jobs provided by the mafia.
If the ostentation of one of these goods is the symbol
of the mafia's power, when we use it for a social purpose we send a message of equal power
but that has an opposite meaning, which is that the mafia and its violence and arrogance
cannot win.