‘It is important that the trial takes place in Calabria, where the crimes took place, according to our point of view. It is a signal for people to understand, without excuses for anyone, that they can trust us and that we can give answers. Nicola Gratteri, a Catanzaro prosecutor and a leading figure in the fight against organized crime, celebrated with these words the start of the macro-process against the ‘Ndrangheta, the most powerful Italian mafia with ramifications in legal and illegal businesses in half the world.
The trial, which takes place in a bunker classroom built for this purpose in the Calabrian town of Lamezia Terme, is the most important against a mafia organization since the one that took place in the 80s of the last century against the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. That it is held in Calabria reaffirms the presence of the State in a region where the clans of the ‘Ndrangheta hold control over a large part of the territory.
The more than 300 defendants, among whom in addition to criminal bosses and hitmen there are businessmen, professionals, corrupt policemen and politicians, are accused of belonging to a mafia association, homicide, extortion, usury and laundering of black money, among other crimes. The macro process reveals the ability of the ‘Ndrangheta to infiltrate the legal economy and politics to protect its interests and reinvest the profits of its illicit businesses.
The figures from the trial give an idea of its magnitude and importance. The bunker classroom, built following the norms against the pandemic, can house 1,000 people maintaining the due distance and also allows 150 video connections to be made simultaneously. About 400 lawyers participate in the process, through which about 60 repentant gangsters who have come to collaborate with justice will parade. Among them are direct relatives and the former sentimental partner of some capos, which shows that the ‘Ndrangheta is also vulnerable to leaks, something unusual until a few years ago due to the blood ties between its members.