Italy’s organized crime groups are always on the look out for ways to diversify their incomes and, most probably, to launder chucks of illicit earning from other illegal business enterprises at the same time. Well, how about the slow food sector and why not attempt to seek a little European Union assistance to boot?
According to an article which appeared today on the website of Italian news agency ANSA, not only has Italy’s mafia successfully penetrated the slow food sector, it has also gone one better and even managed to obtain European Union funding for its new slow food business activities.
Italy’s carabinieri police have uncovered a veritable web of deceit: requests for cash for phantom projects, altered production figures, and more. Around 70% of the finance for these fraudulent mafia-run slow food operations is irregular, though some €28 million ended up in mafia coffers last year alone as a result of the scam.
The Ansa article also makes mention of the risk of a “pork-gate”. Poor quality imported pork from reportedly unhealthy pigs in Germany – where the presence of the Italian mafia has been growing – is being used to create Parma and bresaola hams and this could end up damaging the reputation of Italian-made foodstuffs. On the eve of the 2015 Milan Expo which is to showcase Italian food, this does not bode well.
The traditional source of ill gotten gains for Italy’s mafia, Italy’s building sector, is in a bit of a crisis at present, so some bright mafia spark decided it was time to move in a new direction which, it turns out, is the fashionable slow food market. Eataly has a potentially vicious rival.
Italy’s Authorities in Italy claim to have the resources to counter the mafia slow food threat.