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Madeira – 16 Million Euros Laundered by Italian Mafia

According to media outlet JN, Società Foggiana, one of the “most brutal and violent Italian mafias,” laundered 16 million euros through two companies based in Madeira, through a scheme that allowed Società Foggiana to benefit from European Union Community Funds intended to support rural development.

Following the investigation, the Italian authorities detained 48 people linked to the mafia, namely lawyers, farmers, a former mayor and officials from public institutions responsible for overseeing projects financed by European funds. They have been formally charged with crimes such as a mobster-type criminal association, money laundering, fraud, extortion, kidnapping and illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), confirmed that the mafia’s ‘modus operandi’ consisted of acquiring agricultural machinery through fictitious companies based in countries such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland and Romania and then simulating a sale to companies similar to the two that were based in Madeira.

Subsequently, the machinery was resold to Italian companies at a highly inflated price, leading them to benefit from large European funds from the bogus invoices. The two companies registered in Madeira have connections with the criminal group and were used as intermediaries for the purchase and resale of machinery.

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) classifies the operation as a “complex international scheme for money laundering obtained with EU funds” between 2013 and 2018. The situation in Portugal was investigated by the Inspectorate-General of Finance.

Samantha Gannon

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