Tracking the mafia with investigation journalism

Behind opacity, in african areas and using, sometimes, NGO and public money to run out. Those were some of the ways that mafia used to expand their business to Africa. The panel, called ‘Investigating the Italian mafia’ explored some of the most interesting projects about mafia business.

With their panel, they have presented their investigation about follow the money projects, corruption and investigation about links between mafia and organizations. And also, the better way to focus their work.

Cecilia Anesi, journalist and co-founder of Investigative Reporting Project Itali (IRPI) focused her speech on the importance of making the local journalism a global issue. She strongly believes that it’s essential having a good connection with local journalists who can cover issues with their point of view and expertise.

Also, they discovered that some of the crimes that they were investigating had international view. That’s the way they could investigate the italian mafia operating in Africa. The members of italian mafia operating there, they control diamonds, nightclubs and also lands. All of this, with the cooperation of corrupt regimes.

“Italian anti-Mafia authorities estimate that organised crime groups earn €26 billion a year in Italy alone. But the figure only scratches the surface of its economic power”. To investigate and discover that realities, they were working over Italy and Africa, visiting and exploring Sicily, Calabria, Campania, Lazio, Lombardy, in Italy and South Africa, Namibia, Senegal and Kenya, in Africa.

One of their reports were about the called blood diamonds: the extractive business that kill thousands of people each year and connected with mafias and corrupt groups. For example, in 2011, in Zimbabwe, there was a very huge business around the diamonds: one person bought one million carats of blood diamonds: his name was Antonino Messicati, the boss of the Salabrian mafia, la ‘Cosa Nostra’.

Lorenzo Bagnoli, italian reporter, follow an enterprise: Pintus Group. Based in Las Vegas, but with strong roots in Italy. His owner is Curio Pintus, an engineer born in Sardinia in 1944. In 2001, he was convicted to three years in prison for money laundering. Few years later he started his Pintus Group, with international organizations involved in its growth.

As Bagnoli explained and published, Pintus Group was behind the UN program ‘Ebola response’, the humanitarian aid launch by Ban Ki Moon, the last President of the organization. This program was looking for stop the ebola infection and build for the future. And they were going to do it with money from the World Bank (WB), other states and private founds.

Pintus Group achiveved one of the most important contract in Ebola Project promoted by UN.
How they could arrive to that point? Craig Shaw, a freelance journalist who worked in the same investigation, explained it. With the help of Angelo Antonio Toriello, who “claims to work with CNN, but with the American network has never signed a piece. It appears to have no titles to criminologist. However in 2012 it really becomes ambassador to São Tomé to the UN, for the appointment of President Manuel Pinto da Costa”, as the journalist told in their reports.

The mafia not only had connections in Africa, but in Europe too. As IRPI published, th emafia was behind the creation of a gaming franchise in Malta, with a relocation of their economic activity. Malta governmet didn’t follow their compromise of not allowing people from mafia to start business in their country.