SECRETS of Italy’s richest mafia are about to be revealed as hundreds of suspected gangsters are to face justice in the biggest mob trial in more than 30 years.
Alleged members of the ‘NDrangheta – including corrupt politicians – will be locked in cages during hearings, due to take place at a huge call centre in Calabria that has been converted into a courtroom.
It will now seat almost 1,000 lawyers, judges, prosecutors and spectators taking part in the trial which will expose the inner workings of Italy’s most secretive mafia – due to start on Wednesday.
Investigators will reveal 24,000 wiretaps and bugged conversations to back up charges of murder, extortion and drug dealing.
More than 900 witnesses will give evidence against 355 alleged members of the Calabrian mafia, which has an estimated turnover of between €40-€50billion (£36bn-£45bn).
The gang is believed to have strong links with Latin-American drug cartels, which they use to import cocaine through ports such as Rotterdam, as well as gangs in Albania and Turkey, to transport it to market.
It comes more than 30 years after the 1986 Maxi trial in Palermo, which exposed the Sicilian mafia.
Nicola Gratteri, who is leading the prosecution against ‘NDrangheta, said: “This is the most important maxi-trial since Palermo.”
In 2019, Mr Gratteri ordered the arrests of alleged mafia members in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Bulgaria that led to the latest trial.
A police chief, a former senator, lawyers, councillors and businessmen were among those arrested in an operation involving 2,500 police officers.
Mr Gratteri added: “This is a mafia that looks like us and is ever closer to us.”