Foreign Desk Report
ROME: One of Italy’s largest-ever mafia trials kicked off on Wednesday, with more than 320 suspected mobsters and their associates facing an array of charges, including extortion, drug trafficking and theft.
The case targets the ‘Ndrangheta clan, which is based in Calabria, the toe of Italy’s boot, and is considered by prosecutors to be the most powerful mafia group in the country, easily eclipsing the more famous Cosa Nostra gang in Sicily.
The trial is being held in a converted call-centre in the Calabrian city of Lamezia Terme, with defendants placed in metal cages and rows of desks set up for the hundreds of lawyers, prosecutors, journalists and spectators expected to attend. Many of the accused are white-collar workers, including lawyers, accountants, businesspeople, local politicians and policemen, who chief prosecutor Nicola Gratteri says willingly aided the ‘Ndrangheta in building its crime empire.