MafiaAustraliaDrugMurder


                              The Mafia in Australia: Drugs, Murder and Politics

                                                                  http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2015/06/29/4261876.htm

                                                                  By Nick McKenzie, Clay Hichens and Klaus Toft  June 30, 2015

                                                                           

                                                                                                        The Mafia in Australia

                   THE MAFIA IN AUSTRALIA: A SPECIAL TWO PART INVESTIGATION ON FOUR CORNERS

Part One: Drugs, Murder and Politics

Monday 29 June 2015

It's one of the most secretive and powerful organised crime syndicates in the world, run by violent, ruthless criminals who make a fortune out of the drug trade.

It's the Italian mafia. And it's operating right here in Australia, right now.

In this joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation, more than a year in the making, we reveal how the mafia continues to flourish in Australia despite major police operations.

"I'm going to pull his f-ckin' head off. I'm going to eat him alive. Tell him that he can go get his f-ckin' coffin." Telephone intercept of an Australian mafia boss

Reporter Nick McKenzie travelled to Italy to uncover the family and business connections between the Italian mafia and their Australian associates. A top anti-mafia prosecutor says they are "recreating a Little Italy in Australia".

Here in Australia our investigations reveal how the mafia has infiltrated Australian politics at the highest levels by cultivating people in positions of power.

"This is a case study of what's wrong with the system." Anti-corruption fighter

THE MAFIA IN AUSTRALIA: DRUGS, MURDER AND POLITICS, reported by Nick McKenzie and presented by Kerry O'Brien, goes to air on Monday 29th of June at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 30th at 10.00am and Wednesday 1st July at midnight. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

Transcript

So they said, "No, no, don't worry, this is a kidnapping for money. We don't want to hurt you or kill you. This is a kidnapping for extortion, to get money."

Monday 29 June 2015

The Mafia in Australia Part 1: Drugs, Murder and Politics

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Tonight on Four Corners: drugs, murder and political influence, the Italian mafia alive and flourishing in Australia.

ANNA SERGI, DR., UNI. OF WEST LONDON: The 'Ndrangheta has built its reputation on violence in order to keep the intimidation and to keep the fear and to keep the, the social control.

NICK MCKENZIE, REPORTER (to Frank Costa): How corrupt was the system?

FRANK COSTA, CHAIRMAN, COSTA GROUP: It was rotten to the core.

CLIVE SMALL, FMR ASST. COMMISSIONER, NSW POLICE: I can't believe our politicians are so dopey. I find that sort of extremely difficulty to understand: how they could be so nae.

KERRY O'BRIEN: The Italian mafia has a long and infamous history in Australia. Remember the Griffith marijuana network, the drug lord Robert Trimbole, the murder of anti-drugs campaigner Donald McKay.

That may all seem like ancient history but what we will show you tonight and again next week is that in the decades since then, the so-called "honoured society", 'Ndrangheta, headquartered in Calabria in southern Italy, has built a massive operation in Australia, bringing in huge quantities of drugs and infiltrating mainstream Australian politics.

Tonight's investigation will take you inside long-running police surveillance operations to dramatically uncover just how brutal, ruthless and deeply imbedded the "honoured society" of 'Ndrangheta here really is.

We were informed on Thursday that lawyers for one of the principal people featured in tonight's story, Melbourne businessman Tony Madafferi, would be seeking a court order to stop the program going to air.

That didn't eventuate.

Reporter Nick McKenzie travelled to Calabria for this joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media expos

NICK MCKENZIE, REPORTER: July 2008. In the heart of Melbourne a group of men embark on a deadly mission: to kill a fellow criminal.

They work for one of the most secretive and powerful mafia organisations in the world, unaware that police are watching their every move.

MATT WARREN, DET. SUPT., AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE: We became aware that they were in possession of, ah, of, handguns; of firearms, ah, which gave us rise for concern. Ah, and it became very clear to us that they were, ah, allegedly embarking on, ah, on a mission to go and, and do someone some significant harm.

They were going to kill someone: that was, that's certainly, ah, the allegation.

NICK MCKENZIE: Among the conspirators was Frank Madafferi, a suburban greengrocer with a reputation as a violent underworld figure.

Police phone taps recorded him threatening another criminal over a drug deal.

FRANK MADAFFERI (phone conversation; translation): I'm going to pull his f****n' head off. I'm going to eat him alive. Tell him that he can go get his f****n' coffin, get it f****n' ready because I'm going to go there with a f****n' 4WD and f****n' get him and f****n' take it away.

MATT WARREN: Well, certainly he was regarded with, with a degree of trepidation, with fear, um, with respect. Um, he was, ah... His reputation for violence obviously had been established,

NICK MCKENZIE: Detective Superintendent Matt Warren and his Federal Police team had accidentally stumbled across the murder plot as part of a top-secret organised crime investigation.

They faced a terrible dilemma as they watched events unfold. The police would have to intervene to prevent any killing, but that would force them out of the shadows, blowing many months of painstaking surveillance work.

MATT WARREN: Myself and the team had been living and breathing this, ah, this investigation for months. Um, and so for, ah, for that to, to come unstuck at that point, um, would've been devastating: really, almost heartbreaking, ah, for the team and I, really.

(Footage from AFP surveillance video)

NICK MCKENZIE: The would-be hit men never completed their journey.

AFP SURVEILLANCE TEAM MEMBER: Yeah, I'm getting all this on video.

Constantly and it looks like they've attached the, um, jumper leads to both vehicles.

NICK MCKENZIE: Their car broke down and they re-grouped, still unaware that Federal Police were shadowing them.

The surveillance was part of much bigger operation, which would ultimately expose the Calabrian mafia's powerful Australian network.

It began a year earlier, when police made a massive discovery on Melbourne's docks.

(To Matt Warren): Did you have any idea how big the importation would be?

MATT WARREN: Not at all. Um, in fact, um, it was a, a surprise to everyone as we unpacked the container: just the volume of, ah, of drugs we were looking at.

NICK MCKENZIE: Police had uncovered the world's biggest ecstasy shipment: more than four tonnes of the drug hidden in a container of canned tomatoes that arrived from Italy in June 2007.

ANDREA PAVLEKA, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, COMMONWEALTH DPP: The quantities of drugs were enormous. Ah, the amounts of money that were, ah, at stake were enormous. Ah, it, it painted a picture of, um, a well organised group, ah, with international connections.

MATT WARREN: None of us expected that we'd be on for the next, um, you know, 13 or 14 months of, of hard slog, ah, investigating, you know, an, an enormous organised crime enterprise.

(Footage of Matt Warren showing Nick McKenzie a corkboard of photographs of suspects)

MATT WARREN: Then, ah, you start to see the whole thing coming together...

NICK MCKENZIE: Police focussed their surveillance on the man they suspected had brokered the massive drug shipment: Pasquale 'Pat' Barbaro.

(Footage from AFP surveillance video)

POLICE SURVEILLANCE TEAM MEMBER: About to lose 'em, Ernie.

NICK MCKENZIE: Police suspected Barbaro was a member of a feared and highly secretive international mafia syndicate, known as the 'Ndrangheta or "honoured society."

POLICE SURVEILLANCE TEAM MEMBER: Now we've got Pat out, wearing the green T-shirt.

NICK MCKENZIE: For months, police secretly filmed Pat Barbaro meeting associates in restaurants, parks and fruit shops in Melbourne - and even at a farm near his home town of Griffith in western New South Wales.

MATT WARREN: Certainly what we saw with Pat Barbaro was that he was the point man, ah, for the Australian end. He was the one, ah, who was actively involved in talking to the syndicates overseas, in meeting with them.

NICK MCKENZIE: Of all his criminal associates, it soon became clear that Pat Barbaro treated suburban greengrocer Frank Madafferi with an unusual degree of respect.

One tapped telephone conversation revealed that Frank Madafferi saw himself as the group's Melbourne boss.

FRANK MADAFFERI (phone conversation; translation): Don't f**k around too much with me, understand? You think f****n' Melbourne is f****n' yours? Is not f****n' yours, understand? Ah? I'm f****n' responsible for f****n' Melbourne. Melbourne is mine and doesn't belong to Pasquale.

MATT WARREN: I think it shows that, that in his mind, um, he was the number one 'Ndrangheta figure in Melbourne; that, that, ah, it was his patch, it was his turf, and that, um, whilst Barbaro was able to operate there, ah, in relation to what he was doing, it had to be with his permission, ah, and with his, ah, his knowledge. So I think unquestionably he viewed Melbourne as his patch.

NICK MCKENZIE: As the surveillance continued, other men came into view.

This is Frank Madafferi's elder brother, Tony. Tony Madafferi is a multi-millionaire businessman who part owns a national chain of pizza restaurants, as well as several fruit and vegetable shops around Melbourne.

(To Matt Warren) Is it fair to say that Tony Madafferi was deeply connected to these organised crime figures?

MATT WARREN: Well, certainly he's a very strong associate, absolutely.

NICK MCKENZIE: On a weekend in March 2008, police were watching when Tony Madafferi met Pat Barbaro and two other drug traffickers in Melbourne's Flagstaff Gardens.

It's never been established that Tony Madafferi is involved in drug trafficking, but his meetings with drug importers aroused police suspicion.

(To Matt Warren) Tony Madafferi appears throughout the court allegations as somebody the group consistently sought to meet with in private, in Crown Casino or in the villa of the Flagstaff Gardens. What was his role throughout the operation:

MATT WARREN: We would say that, that he was an interested party.

NICK MCKENZIE: Many of the men being tailed by the Federal Police had begun their careers here: at Melbourne's Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market. Police discovered some of their targets would meet at the market to have private discussions.

MATT WARREN: They're able to conduct meetings, ah, with very little chance of the police being able to intercept those, ah, conversations in that very busy market environment. So it allows them, ah, a) access to other members of the group whereby, um, it's, it's mixed in with normal, normal activity.

I mean, these people, ah, are continuing to run successful farming operations so, um, their attendance at the market may not in fact be on, ah, any particular occasional criminal; on other occasions it will be.

NICK MCKENZIE: For decades, the 'Ndrangheta controlled the market through a cartel that monopolised the sale of produce through bribery and extortion.

(Excerpt from ABC News bulletin, Jan. 1964)

REPORTER (ABC TV News, 1964): Neighbours I have spoken to today tell me that they heard two shots at about 2:30 in the morning.

NICK MCKENZIE (voiceover): The 'Ndrangheta's secretive market cartel only became public when power struggles within their ranks sparked outbreaks of murder and violence.

REPORTER (ABC TV News, May 1983): The explosion occurred just after 6 o'clock this morning, during a busy trading time at the Wholesale Market...

NICK MCKENZIE (voiceover): In 1983, the car of the undisputed Melbourne godfather, Liborio Benvenuto, was bombed in the market car park.

REPORTER (ABC TV News, May 1983): ...when the explosion occurred.

LIBORIO BENVENUTO (ABC TV News, May 1983): Might be the petrol tank.

REPORTER: You don't think somebody put a bomb in your car?

LIBORIO BENVENUTO: No. No. Because I never got no enemy.

REPORTER: You've never been involved in any trouble here at the markets?

LIBORIO BENVENUTO: No, never in my life. Never.

NICK MCKENZIE: A top-secret National Crime Authority report obtained by Four Corners found that the violence was "connected with the alleged secret commission and extortion schemes which were operating at the markets".

(To Frank Costa) This group was the so-called "honoured society"?

FRANK COSTA, CHAIRMAN, COSTA GROUP: Well, that's what they might have called them. I never used that expression and we didn't, our company never used that expression. We just used the expression: they're bunch of ruthless merchants.

NICK MCKENZIE: How corrupt was the system?

FRANK COSTA: It was rotten to the core.

NICK MCKENZIE: Fruit and vegetable wholesale king Frank Costa saw the cartel in action.

FRANK COSTA: What was happening was that they had the buyers of certain products - major lines, I think, by then - in their pocket. And those buyers would give them the order regardless and it would get through quality control regardless and they would receive weekly - I think it was mostly weekly, it might have been monthly in some cases, but mostly weekly - a brown paper bag.

So he might just get 100 boxes of something at whatever and then he'd give him 50 cents a box, 50 bucks at the end of the week. That would grow to $1,000, grow to $2,000. And the guy's got hooked, absolutely hooked. And once you're hooked you're gone and you sell your soul to the devil - well, you become a devil.

NICK MCKENZIE: In the late 1980s, Frank Costa agreed to a request by the supermarket chains to confront these schemes and end the market cartel.

Before long, he received a chilling message from a Calabrian wholesaler.

FRANK COSTA: "I've been sent to speak to you from so and so who came and approached me this morning at the market with two offers. Your choice, Frank," he said. Um, "You can have $1 million cash now - and it will be all cash and you can get that same repeat every 12 months if you let the buying go back to its original, ah, process, right? And if you don't want, that you can have the other offer which is a bullet for you:" That was me.

NICK MCKENZIE: Frank Costa stood his ground with an audacious bluff.

FRANK COSTA: And I said, "Really?" I said, "That's very nice of him." I said, "You go back and tell that bastard tomorrow - and don't soften at all - that if one hair of the head of any our family is touched in any way, double that will happen to his family immediately."

NICK MCKENZIE: Frank Costa remembers Tony Madafferi as a key market figure but says Madafferi never threatened him.

But later, as a new wave of violence erupted at the markets, Tony Madafferi would face serious accusations at two separate inquests.

REPORTER (ABC News, June 1993): Of the many startling allegations made during the 10-day inquiry, probably the most shocking was that Tony Madafferi, a Glen Waverly greengrocer, was the honoured society's executioner.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 1991 greengrocer Tony Peluso was killed outside his home in Glen Waverley after a price war with rival grocers.

A year later another fruiterer, Alfonse Muratore, was also shot dead.

At the coronial inquests into these unsolved murders, Tony Madafferi strongly denied claims by witnesses that he was a mafia enforcer.

REPORTER (ABC TV News, April 1995): Detective Sergeant Chris Enright told the inquest police had evidence Mr Peluso was threatened by rival businessman Tony Madafferi a week before the shooting. The threat included a warning that if Peluso wasn't careful, he would be killed. His son, Gaetano Peluso, heard Madafferi say, "Be careful. I'll get you. If you don't, I will kill you."

NICK MCKENZIE: Murder victim Alfonse Muratore's girlfriend told the coroner that Muratore was convinced Tony Madafferi had killed Peluso. She also said Muratore told her Tony Madafferi was a man to be greatly feared.

KAREN MANSFIELD (ABC TV News, June 1993): I know that, in my heart, Fonse is on the stand with me all the time. He's there with me, all the time. And I'm speaking for him and, ah, I'm gonna stop speaking for him until the day I die, if it needs to be. I want the truth known. I, I really want the truth known.

NICK MCKENZIE: No adverse coronial finding was made against Tony Madafferi and he was never charged with any crime.

He denied any wrongdoing, telling police he was simply "a man who is very respected at the market."

Tony Madafferi's lawyer dismissed the claims against him as baseless hearsay.

LAWYER (archive): He is devastated. He's, ah, ah, totally shocked by the allegations that were made. His family has suffered enormously. His business has suffered and, ah, he is very concerned to attempt to clear his name.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 1995, the National Crime Authority completed the biggest mafia inquiry in decades, codenamed Cerberus.

Four Corners has obtained the confidential Cerberus report, which was never publicly released.

CERBERUS REPORT EXTRACT (voiceover): Antonio Madafferi has been named by three sources as being a member of the honoured society. Membership of a secret society must be considered as highly probable."

NICK MCKENZIE: The origins of this secret society lie on the other side of the world.

Calabria, at the southern tip of the Italian mainland, is the birthplace and traditional stronghold of one of the world's most feared mafia organisations, the 'nrandgheta or "honoured society".

Behind the picture postcard scenery is a dark history of violence, fear and secrecy.

ANNA SERGI, DR., UNI. OF WEST LONDON: The 'Ndrangheta has built its reputation on violence, especially in the 70s, 80s and 90s, so right at the beginning of its empire of drugs, in order to keep the intimidation and to keep the fear and to keep the, the social control.

NICK MCKENZIE: Fighting the mafia here is a risky business.

In order to meet one of the top anti-mafia prosecutors, we are escorted by his armed security detail who must protect him from assassination around the clock.

Roberto Di Palma says the Calabrian mafia has built a powerful base in Australia.

(Nick McKenzie meets Roberto Di Palma, shaking hands)

ROBERTO DI PALMA, ANTI-MAFIA PROSECUTOR: Nice to meet you and you're welcome.

NICK MCKENZIE: Thank you.

ROBERTO DI PALMA (translation): The Calabrian 'Ndrangheta's ties with Australia are strong, but that shouldn't shock us. Because by now we find the 'Ndrangheta occupying a global dimension. The influx of Italian migrants in Australia has been very historically significant. And what better situation for recreating a Little Italy in Australia with the same dynamics, both virtuous and depraved?

NICK MCKENZIE: The Calabrians entrusted the world's biggest shipment of ecstasy to the Australians: 15 million pills. What does that say about the essence of the relationship?

ROBERTO DI PALMA (translation): The discovery of such a large and important shipment of ecstasy, one that the Calabrians had entrusted to the Australians, proves that a criminal organisation exists in Australia: a professional organization that works adeptly in the drug trade.

NICK MCKENZIE: At Calabria's container port, Italian police regularly seize massive hauls of cocaine, bound for markets in Europe and Australia. But it's just a fraction of the 'Ndrangheta's lucrative global trade.

ROBERTO DI PALMA (translation): Today we can say with certainty that the 'Ndrangheta is the most powerful force in the world when it comes to international drug trafficking, namely cocaine.

NICK MCKENZIE: The birthplace of the Calabrian mafia is in the foothills of the rugged Aspromonte mountains.

Here, the mafia remains all-powerful.

ANNA SERGI: There is the cult of honour, meaning that if you, if you break the secrecy code, obviously someone has to do something about you. So if you... yeah, you, you should be killed.

NICK MCKENZIE: Calabrian-born mafia expert Dr Anna Sergi is our guide as we travel to the tiny mountain village of Oppido Mamertina. It's a notorious 'Ndrangheta stronghold. It's also the ancestral home and birthplace of Frank and Tony Madafferi, the brothers who would later attract so much police attention in Australia.

(To Anna Sergi) Would Frank Madafferi still have strong connections to the town?

ANNA SERGI: Yeah, that's absolutely expected. That's the one thing that always been clear to the authorities in Italy, in Calabrian reggio: is that for the Australian organisation of Calabrian origin to exist, there has to be an approval from here.

NICK MCKENZIE: You don't have to look far to see evidence of links to Australia.

Tony Madafferi left here as a teenager, but Frank stayed behind to establish his criminal reputation.

ANNA SERGI: Francesco Madafferi started his career - his criminal career - very young from what we see from his record. We see someone involved in violent acts.

NICK MCKENZIE: This is the area where Frank Madafferi was blooded as a young mafia soldier. Aged just 19, he was caught by police acting as a bagman in a violent extortion scheme. The scheme involved blowing up the house of the victim and demanding a huge pay-off. Frank Madafferi was caught when he came to pick up the cash.

The traditional code of silence which protected the mafia for centuries remains entrenched here.

(To Anna Sergi) What happens to informers: those who speak out against the Calabrian mafia here in these villages?

ANNA SERGI: The most common thing that can happen is that someone refuses to pay the protection tax, the racket, extortion tax. They attempt to send a message across that if you mess with them, if you refuse to pay, then they either burn your shop or they, they make life, life unbearable for your relatives. They make impo- make it impossible to find a job for your son or daughter. Some of them even ended up dead.

So these rules still apply but we have less and less, um, visibility of killings, um, because they-they-they don't need that. I mean, they don't need publicity. They don't need - they are strong enough without it. They can... There are various ways of killing someone, I would say.

NICK MCKENZIE (To Pantaleone Sergi): So it's, it's over here where the young girl was taken?

PANTALEONE SERGI, JOURNALIST (translation): This is the house of the Mittica family. It is here that on the 28th November 1986 that Angela Mittica was kidnapped. She was 25 at the time.

NICK MCKENZIE: Pantaleone Sergi is a journalist and former mayor of a nearby town.

He takes us to the site of a notorious crime linked to Frank Madafferi: the kidnapping of a local politician's daughter.

(Footage of newsreader covering Angela Mittica's kidnapping, Italian TV)

NICK MCKENZIE: Angela Mittica's kidnapping became big news in Italy as one of a spate of high-profile mafia crimes.

(Footage of Nick McKenzie in car)

NICK MCKENZIE: We have just been told that Angela Mittica might be willing to talk to us. Now, if she goes on camera, it would be an extraordinarily brave move. Most people here are still terrified about speaking openly about the mafia.

(To Angela Mittica) Did you lose track of time...

NICK MCKENZIE (voiceover): At a discreet location, Angela agrees to tell us her story. it's the first time in 28 years she's spoken publicly about her ordeal.

ANGELA MITTICA (translation): I was afraid, terribly afraid because I had no idea what was happening to me.



NICK MCKENZIE: Angela Mittica would spend almost five months held captive in a cave hidden among the rugged mountains that surround the town.

Her captors wore balaclavas at all times so she would not be able to identify them.

ANGELA MITTICA (translation): The conditions were really bad. I was chained. The chain was attached to my wrist and ankle and tied to several logs. The cave I was in had a very low ceiling. In fact, I couldn't stand up. Inside there was just some kind of foam mattress on top of some firewood. Only when they came by would they unchain me for a little while.

NICK MCKENZIE: As the search for Angela Mittica continued, local police arrested more than a dozen suspects.

One of them was Frank Madafferi.

(To Pantaleone Sergi) Why did police arrest Francesco Madafferi?

PANTALEONE SERGI (translation): Frank Madafferi was arrested in the first phase of the investigation, when there was pressure from police and magistrates, because they wanted answers about this kidnappings.

Frank Madafferi was already known among the police because of his several priors. For this reason, the investigation focussed on this tight-knit group he was a member of.

His role in the group was uncertain. But law enforcement officials believed, and the magistrate confirmed, that he was a part of the gang that kidnapped Angela Mittica.

(Footage of Nick McKenzie and Pantaleone Sergi walking through Calabrian forest clearing)

NICK MCKENZIE: What do you think Francesco Madafferi was willing to...

NICK MCKENZIE (voiceover): Pantaleone Sergi reported on the kidnapping for a major Italian newspaper.

(To Pantaleone Sergi) So is this where Angela Mittica was kept?

The cave she was kept in was back behind here somewhere. They were moving her from one hiding place to another when the Carabinieri caught them.

They exchanged fire. They nearly shot Angela. She said, "No, no, I'm Angela Mittica." So they saved her.

(Footage of newsreader covering Angela Mittica's return, Italian TV)

NICK MCKENZIE: After enduring 130 days in captivity, Angela Mittica was finally reunited with her loved ones.

ANGELA MITTICA (translation): I think that was the most beautiful day of my life. The feeling was indescribable. To know this experience was behind me, to be out of that cave and that ordeal and to get my life back. It might seem silly, but to be able to take a shower and to shampoo my hair. To see my friends, my fiancand my family.

NICK MCKENZIE: Despite his arrest, Italian police were never able to gather enough evidence to charge Frank Madafferi over the kidnapping of Angela Mittica. But they did have the evidence to charge him with a litany of other serious crimes throughout the 1980s.

He was convicted and sentenced to multiple jail terms for extortion, mafia conspiracy and two separate stabbings, as well as drug and gun possession.

ANNA SERGI: He was arrested and sentenced for stabbing. He was also involved in, in a kidnapping case. He was involved in, um... he was suspected of an attempted murder - voluntary attempted murder - and he was, he was sentenced twice for extortion. This tells us, ah, considering the area he is from, that he was trying to make a name for his- for himself. He was trying to show someone that he- he could be trusted to carry out certain work.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 1989 with police again circling him, this time over a prison stabbing and receiving stolen goods, Frank Madafferi fled Calabria.

He arrived in Melbourne, lied about his criminal record, and was given a six-month tourist visa.

MATT WARREN: Well, certainly, um, clearly he served an apprenticeship and a fairly violent one, ah, in Italy, before he came to Australia. Um, there were outstanding warrants for his arrest, ah, in Italy when he arrived in Australia, which he didn't declare.

NICK MCKENZIE: In Melbourne, Frank Madafferi began working in the fruit and vegetable trade, where his brother Tony was already well established.

The violence at the wholesale markets was continuing.

Before long, both Frank and Tony Madafferi were at the centre of criminal investigations, with police making explosive allegations in a statement later aired in court and fiercely denied by the pair.

COURT STATEMENT (voiceover): Antonio Madafferi has involvement in a substantial number of crimes, including murder, gunshot wounding and arson.

Frank Madafferi, if allowed to remain in Australia, will continue to carry out acts of violence on behalf of a criminal syndicate.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 1996, Australian authorities moved to have Frank Madafferi deported after finally discovering he was an illegal migrant with a lengthy record of violent crime back in Italy.

Philip Ruddock was immigration minister at the time.

PHILIP RUDDOCK, IMMIGRATION MINISTER 1996-2003: I do have a view that in relation to serious criminal records, um, that people may have, that they should be taken into account, um, as to whether or not they're able to settle in Australia. And, um, my first, um, presumption is: um, we don't take other people's criminals.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 2000, Ruddock ruled that Frank Madafferi should be deported back to Italy.

PHILIP RUDDOCK: If you have a person who comes and, ah, I think in this matter, um, marries an Australia and then seeks to stay, um, and there is a serious criminal record, um, in my view, um, that should be taken into account. And, ah, the view that I formed, ah, was that, ah, um, on the basis of the criminal record, um, he should be deported.

NICK MCKENZIE: Desperate to keep Frank Madafferi in Australia, his family headed to court. During one hearing, a judge was told that Australian police suspected Frank and his brother Tony were part of a crime family allegedly involved in murder, arson and extortion.

The brothers denied this and one judge said the police view could not be relied on as it was based on unnamed informers. But ultimately the deportation order was upheld. And so the Madafferis embarked on plan B.

By this time Tony Madafferi was a wealthy businessman, cultivating political links. Among the Madafferi family supporters were several major political donors, such as Sydney furniture king Nick Scali.

Liberal Party sources have confirmed that, in October 2001, Scali organised a meeting between Tony Madafferi and a NSW Liberal Party figure associated with a fundraising vehicle called the Millennium Forum.

GEOFFREY WATSON SC, COUNSEL ASSISTING, NSW ICAC: When you look at the Millennium Forum website or the way in which it organises functions, the idea is that you would be a donor of a particular value and that would get you so much access, whether at dinners or fundraising events of different kinds. It's access in return for a donation.

NICK MCKENZIE: It's all about getting the ear of a politician?

GEOFFREY WATSON: Exactly: and nothing else.

GEOFFREY WATSON (ICAC): Part of the purpose of the public inquiry will be attem- to attempt to determine whether or not that innocent explanation should be accepted.

NICK MCKENZIE: As the counsel assisting the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, Geoffrey Watson recently investigated the Millennium Forum.

GEOFFREY WATSON: On how many occasions would you see it that a donation was quickly followed by a request to meet a politician? Then ask yourself: why is somebody requesting a meeting with a politician? It's not just to get to know them. It's to influence them as to their decision making. Of course there's a connection.

NICK MCKENZIE: The Liberal Party figure involved in the Millennium Forum arranged a meeting with immigration minister Philip Ruddock.

Nick Scali arrived at Ruddock's office, accompanied by the Madafferi family's lawyer who had flown up from Melbourne.

(To Philip Ruddock) Were you surprised that a legal representative of the Madafferi family was sitting in your office?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, look, I wasn't aware of it. Um, I'd agreed to see a community representative who wanted to put a view.

NICK MCKENZIE: Liberal Party sources have told Four Corners Philip Ruddock was furious when he realised he was hosting Frank and Tony Madafferi's legal adviser.

The meeting was cut short as Ruddock rejected the pleas made on Frank Madafferi's behalf.

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Some people wanted to put another view. I was prepared to hear it but given what I've said to you, ah, criminal records are serious issues, um, and, ah, I came to a view in exercising my discretion, ah, that I would not, ah, waive, ah, the, ah, ah, the deportation: um, that it should proceed.

GEOFFREY WATSON: Oh, I'll say this about Phillip Ruddock: you may not agree with his politics but he's a man of integrity. And he acted there as I thought he would and he should. But the fact is that his actions showed that he recognised immediately that there was something wrong with receiving these solicitations from the Madafferis.

(Footage of Amanda Vanstone sworn in by Governor-General Peter Hollingworth)

AMANDA VANSTONE, IMMIGRATION MINISTER 2003-7: I, Amanda Eloise Vanstone, do swear that I will well and truly serve the people of Australia in the office of Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.

NICK MCKENZIE: In late 2003, Amanda Vanstone replaced Phillip Ruddock as immigration minister.

Tony Madafferi now called on the help of another prominent businessman and political donor to lobby the new minister to have Frank Madafferi's impending deportation overturned.

The donor they turned to was Pasquale "Pat" Sergi. Pat Sergi is a property developer with a reputation for charity work.

In 1979 the Woodward royal commission concluded he had been buying and selling real estate using money provided by mafia drug traffickers.

CLIVE SMALL, FMR ASST. COMMISSIONER, NSW POLICE: Woodward found that it was essentially a money laundering operation. It was quite substantial and certainly by today's standards, we're talking millions and millions of dollars.

NICK MCKENZIE: What does that say about Pat Sergi's closeness to the mafia?

CLIVE SMALL: Well, they wouldn't have been giving Pat Sergi cash and allowing him to invest it unless he was an extremely trusted person.

NICK MCKENZIE: The Madafferi brothers and their supporters launched a full-blown political lobbying campaign.

Pat Sergi approached NSW Liberal senator Marise Payne. Other donors lobbied Victorian Liberal MP Russell Broadbent, as well as his colleague, Bruce Billson.

In the lead-up to the 2004 election, Tony Madafferi organised a political fundraiser in Melbourne attended by all three Liberal parliamentarians. Each of them had previously contacted immigration minister Amanda Vanstone about the impending deportation.

The guest speaker at the fundraiser was Amanda Vanstone.

On the evening, Tony Madafferi personally donated $15,000 to the Liberal Party's Millennium Forum.

GEOFFREY WATSON: This is a case study of what's wrong with the system. Well, it's seriously wrong. Ah, the point is that, for no better reason, for no better reason than the making of donations to a political party, specific representations were able to be put to amongst the most powerful politicians in the land - access which you and I couldn't get, except if we made substantial donations ourselves.

By 2004 Tony Madafferi was a regular at Liberal Party fundraisers, including this function with then Victorian Opposition leader and now Melbourne Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle.

NICK MCKENZIE: Searching through hundreds of photos from fundraising events, Four Corners discovered Tony Madafferi even meeting then prime minister John Howard.

In November 2005, after years spent lobbying, Frank Madafferi finally got the break he was looking for: Amanda Vanstone intervened in the case and overturned the deportation order.

Amanda Vanstone has not responded to repeated attempts to contact her and all the MPs involved in the lobbying declined to be interviewed.

But they have maintained their intervention in the case was based on humanitarian concerns about the impact of the deportation on Madafferi's family.

Senior officials who worked on the Madafferi visa case have told Four Corners the decision to overturn Ruddock's deportation order was appalling, as it exposed the community to harm.

(To Philip Ruddock) Do you stand by your decision that you made as a minister in the Francesco Madafferi case?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Look, I wouldn't be here talking to you if I didn't, um, believe, um, that weighing up all of the issues that were before me at that time that it was the appropriate decision.

NICK MCKENZIE (to Matt Warren): Should Frank Madafferi have been given a visa?

MATT WARREN: Well, that's not really a question for me to answer. Um, however, on the basis of, ah, of the fact that he had significant criminal convictions, ah, certainly he's not someone that, that we would recommend would be given a visa to, to reside in Australia, for sure.

NICK MCKENZIE: Four Corners can reveal that a secret multi-agency police report found the Madafferi visa case highlighted "the insidious ways" the mafia "enter the social or professional world of public officials and through legitimate processes achieve influence."

MULTI-AGENCY POLICE REPORT (voiceover): There is no suggestion that Vanstone acted corruptly; rather, that members of the Italian community, including 'Ndrangheta members and their families and associates, are likely to have ingratiated themselves with her office and that, through their legitimate public face, were capable of achieving influence.

CLIVE SMALL: The Calabrian mafia doesn't give anything away. Any cent they spend, ah, is because they expect two cents back. Now, in this case what they were doing were making an investment in political connections to, to try and build up pressure to have it overturned.

NICK MCKENZIE: After winning his battle to stay in Australia, Frank Madafferi embarked on the boldest chapter yet in his criminal career.

In 2007, he was under fresh investigation: this time for his links to the world's biggest ecstasy importation.

Police were listening in as he threatened his underworld rivals.

FRANK MADAFFERI (phone conversation; translation): Tell him I want the profit! It's not f****n' his! Or I'm going to bite his throat. I swear on my Mum, I send them to get him, bring him in the car, and I'll f****n' tear him to pieces.

NICK MCKENZIE: Detective Superintendent Matt Warren was convinced that Frank Madafferi was part of the syndicate responsible for the massive ecstasy shipment.

But catching him and his accomplices would not be easy and would involve a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game between police and one of the most dangerous mafia groups in the world.

(End of part 1)

KERRY O'BRIEN: Senator Marise Payne and MP Bruce Billson declined to be interviewed for the program. Senator Payne said in a statement that, when she made representations to the then immigration minister in relation to Frank Madafferi, she had no knowledge of the criminal associations of any party she dealt with.

Bruce Billson told us he was deceived about Madafferi's criminal background and was "bitterly disappointed about it."

Amanda Vanstone and Russell Broadbent did not reply to our requests for comment.

Next week we'll bring you part two of this important expos which reveals the inside story on the world's biggest ecstasy bust; the next crop of mafia leaders in Australia; and Frank Madafferi's Labor connection.

We'll leave you with a taste of what's to come.

Until next Monday, good night.

(Preview of next week's program)

CLIVE SMALL: The Calabrian mafia in Australia is the longest-running crime organisation we've ever had.

ANNOUNCER: A new generation of godfathers...

MATT WARREN: Organised crime figures will try and cultivate people of all walks of life but particularly people with influence.

ANNA SERGI: The links are there. The links are tight and they are based on blood ties.

ANNOUNCER: ...and how they're taking care of business in Australia.

MATT WARREN: These groups are very difficult to defeat. They regroup, they rebound, the reorganise and they'll continue to, because it's their business.

ANNOUNCER: Four Corners, next Monday.

(Preview ends)

END

So they said, "No, no, don't worry, this is a kidnapping for money. We don't want to hurt you or kill you. This is a kidnapping for extortion, to get money."

Responses

RESPONSES

 

Senator Marise Payne - The Minister for Human Services, Senator Marise Payne, declined an interview with Four Corners in relation to the report, and sent the following response. [pdf]

http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/201506/r1442813_20905513.pdf

 

RESPONSE TO FOUR CORNERS ‘THE MAFIA IN AUSTRALIA: DRUGS, MURDER & POLITICS’

 The Minister for Human Services, Senator Marise Payne, declined an interview with Four Corners in relation to the report, and sent the following response.

Senator Marise Payne

As you are aware, the Senator has previously responded to enquiries and has fully co-operated with official investigations regarding this matter.

As such, she will not be participating in an interview. The Senator made representations to the then Immigration minister in relation to the impact of the individual’s detention on his family, following a request from constituents she met when attending a charity dinner in an official capacity in 2003. Senator Payne had no knowledge, or any cause to be aware of, any criminal associations in relation to those constituents at the time.

As previously reported the AFP completed an enquiry into this matter in 2009 and no further action was taken.

The Senator rejects any suggestion or inference of inappropriate action as highly offensive, defamatory and completely untrue. Henry Budd Media Adviser Office of Senator the Hon Marise Payne Minister for Human Services

 

 

 

MP Bruce Billson - The Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson, declined an interview with Four Corners in relation to the report, and sent the following response. [pdf]

 

http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/201506/r1442801_20905313.pdf

 

RESPONSE TO FOUR CORNERS ‘THE MAFIA IN AUSTRALIA: DRUGS, MURDER & POLITICS’

 The Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson, declined an interview with Four Corners in relation to the report, and sent the following response.

 Bruce Billson MP

The representations I made on behalf of family members urged a resolution to a long ongoing matter. At no time did my representations extend beyond seeking to help aggrieved dependent family members nor did they in any way represent any form of character reference for Madafferi. I took steps which sought to verify information being put to me by family members and their legal representative.

In the course of my inquiries, non-specific ‘character’ concerns were identified which family members and their lawyer repeatedly assured me related solely to an ‘in-absentia’ conviction that they claimed had been subsequently set aside but remained the basis of his detention.

Immigration officials could not disclose to me any more than the existence of ‘character concerns’ and law enforcement intelligence was not available to me. Clearly, as subsequent media reports revealed, I had been deceived.

The request made of me for assistance with a constituency matter about a family’s concern regarding a bureaucratic and migration grid-lock that had even attracted the UNHCR’s interest, was a contrived veneer covering a far darker and disturbing situation.

As soon as I became aware of further information, criminal allegations and the basis of the ‘character concerns’ via reports of law enforcement agency leaks, I ceased contact with all parties involved and stridently expressed my bitter disappointment to the individual family matter who had first raised this matter with me. Organised crime deserves to be dealt with by the full force of the law.

The Hon Bruce Billson MP

Federal Member for Dunkley Minister for Small Business

 



'Ndrangheta mafia 'made more last year than McDonald's and Deutsche Bank'

Study finds crime network made billions of euros from drug trafficking,
illegal rubbish disposal and other activities

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/26/ndrangheta-mafia-mcdonalds-deutsche-bank-study

                                                   

                                       Pope Francis last week called on Italy's mafia groups to 'stop doing evil'. 

The 'Ndrangheta mafia from southern Italy made more money last year than Deutsche Bank and McDonald's put together with a turnover of €53bn (£44bn), a study has claimed.

The study by the Demoskopika research institute detailed the international crime syndicate's sources of revenue, including drug trafficking – which brought in an estimated €24.2bn – and illegal garbage disposal, which earned it €19.6bn.

The southern Italian mafia earned the equivalent of 3.5% of Italy's gross domestic product (GDP) last year, said the report based on analysis of documents from Italy's interior ministry and police, parliament's anti-mafia commission and the national anti-mafia task force.

The 'Ndrangheta is thought to have about 400 key "operatives" in 30 countries, but its activities are believed to involve as many as 60,000 people worldwide, the report said.

Extortion and usury last year brought in a substantial €2.9bn, while embezzlement earned the mafia €2.4bn and gambling €1.3bn. Arms sales, prostitution, counterfeiting goods and people-smuggling were less lucrative, bringing in less than €1bn together.

The 'Ndrangheta – whose name comes from the Greek for courage or loyalty – has a tight clan structure which has made it famously difficult to penetrate.

With its network of hundreds of family gangs based around the southern region of Calabria, it is even more feared and secretive than the Sicilian mafia.

Its roots go back to a criminal association specialised in gambling, the Garduna, which was created in the Spanish city of Toledo in 1412.

It spread to Calabria, one of Italy's poorest regions, and started building up as a crime network based on kidnapping for ransom.

Pope Francis last week called on Italy's mafia groups to "stop doing evil" as he met relatives of their victims to demonstrate the Catholic church's opposition to organised crime.

"There is still time to avoid ending up in hell, which is where you are going if you continue down this path," he warned mafiosi, telling them to relinquish their "blood-stained money" which "cannot be taken into paradise".


                           RELATED NEWS COVERAGE ON Mafia In Australia

 

Key Liberal fundraising body took Mafia money for access | The Age | 29 Jun 2015 - Mafia figures donated tens of thousands of dollars to the discredited NSW Liberal Party fundraising vehicle, the Millennium Forum, as part of an ultimately successful campaign to allow a known criminal to stay in Australia. By Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard, Sean Nicholls. www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/key-liberal-fundraising-body-took-mafia-money-for-access-20150629-gi07yb.html

 

Mafia in Australia: Major drug trafficking group linked to senior politicians, investigation reveals Four Corners | ABC News | 29 Jun 2015 - Links between the Calabrian Mafia and senior politicians on both sides of Australia's political fence have been uncovered in a joint investigation by Four Corners and Fairfax newspapers. www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-29/italian-mafia-group-linked-to-senior-australian-politicians/6579076

 

Political donations wide open to Mafia corruption | The Age | 29 Jun 2015 - The Calabrian Mafia has infiltrated Australian politics at both state and federal levels by ingratiating itself with individual party donors and members of Parliament, according to confidential police reports. By Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard. www.theage.com.au/national/political-donations-wide-open-to-mafia-corruption-20150628-ghycxk.html

 

Mafia godfather's son in Australian Rome embassy under Amanda Vanstone | ABC News | 29 Jun 2015 - The son of a prominent Mafia godfather was given work experience at the Australian embassy in Rome that had the potential to compromise international police operations. By Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard. www.smh.com.au/national/mafia-godfathers-son-in-australian-rome-embassy-under-amanda-vanstone-20150628-ghydoo.html

 

Glad-handing and influence: mafia taking fast track to the powerful | The Age | 29 Jun 2015 - John Howard moves with practised ease towards the donors' table, shaking hands and mouthing pleasantries. He has no idea of the identity of the man who is turning and extending his hand... Tony Madafferi has been named in two coronial inquests as a Mafia boss and suspected hitman. By Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard. www.theage.com.au/national/gladhanding-and-influence-mafia-taking-fast-track-to-the-powerful-20150628-ghydu8

 

Mafia 'linked to senior Australian politicians' | BBC World News | 29 Jun 2015 - Australian politicians have been infiltrated by the Calabrian mafia, according to an investigation by Fairfax Media-ABC Four Corners. It says politicians at both state and federal level are exposed to "potential corruption" with "loopholes" in the political donation system. www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-33306842

 

Lawyers to apply for injunction stopping Four Corners program on Italian Mafia | ABC News | 26 Jun 2015 - Lawyers for a Melbourne businessman are expected to apply for an injunction stopping the ABC from broadcasting a Four Corners investigation into the Italian Mafia. www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-26/lawyers-apply-injunction-stopping-four-corners-italian-mafia/6574172

 

Cold Case file remains open on the suspected Mafia slaying of Vincenzo and Alfonso Muratore | Herald Sun | 25 Mar 2015 - ...two of the most unusual unsolved murders on Victoria Police homicide squad books are those of Vincenzo and Alfonso Muratore. What is unusual is that the father and son were murdered in remarkably similar circumstances 28 years apart. Both died after being blasted by a shotgun as they left their Hampton homes in the early hours. Both worked in the Melbourne wholesale fruit and vegetable market and both were embroiled in Calabrian Mafia affairs. www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/cold-case-files-remain-open-on-vincenzo-and-alfonso-muratore/story-fnat7jnn-1226605688251

 

You say tomato, the court says life for largest drug bust | The Age | 25 May 2015 - The long slippery slope towards a life sentence began for Pasquale Barbaro in June 2007 when customs officials on Melbourne's docks singled out a container of Italian tinned tomatoes. When X-rays showed ''image anomalies'', customs officers began opening them, eventually uncovering a staggering haul of 15 million ecstasy tablets - Australia's biggest ever drug bust and the world's biggest ecstasy haul. www.theage.com.au/victoria/you-say-tomato-the-court-says-life-for-largest-drug-bust-20120524-1z7yl.html

 

NSW Liberals launch fund-raising body to replace discredited Millennium Forum | SMH | 26 Jul 2014 - In public hearings in May, ICAC heard that senior Liberal Party officials used the Millennium Forum and another Liberal-linked entity, the Free Enterprise Foundation, to funnel prohibited donations, including from property developers, into the 2011 NSW election campaign. www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-liberals-launch-fundraising-body-to-replace-discredited-millennium-forum-20140725-zwppv.html

Liberal MPs accused of NSW fundraising hypocrisy | ABC Online | 13 Mar 2012 - New South Wales Government MPs are still helping to raise money from the corporate sector, despite recent changes to political donation laws. www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-13/nsw-liberal-mps-accused-of-corporate-fundraising/3885482

 

World's biggest ecstasy bust: How a Google search foiled Aussie tomato tin mafia's drug plots | Herald Sun | 13 Feb 2015 - A police sting foiled Mokbel mate Rob Karam's plan to buy 26 tonnes of chemicals to make ice with a street value of $13 billion. Karam - one of Crown casino's top 200 gamblers - was secretly recorded as he arranged to ship the chemicals to Australia and Mexico. What Karam didn't know was the man in Hong Kong he was negotiating the massive deal with was an undercover officer working with Australian Federal Police. www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/worlds-biggest-ecstasy-bust-how-a-google-search-foiled-aussie-tomato-tin-mafias-drug-plots/story-fni0ffnk-1227218948111

 

Suspected mafia link to Liberal fundraising | AFR | 23 May 2014 - The suspected mafia 'godfather' of Melbourne helped bankroll a Liberal Party marginal federal seat campaign in the 2013 election, raising the prospect that the proceeds of crime have flowed into Liberal coffers. By Nick McKenzie. www.afr.com/news/politics/suspected-mafia-link-to-liberal-fundraising-20140522-iudr8

 

RESEARCH AND BACKGROUND

 

CDPP Press Release | 26 Feb 2015 - Thirty-two Australians who were members of a sophisticated international drug trafficking syndicate have been convicted and sentenced to gaol for a total period in excess of 275 years. Non-parole periods of over 222 years have been imposed. The syndicate leader, Pasquale Barbaro, received a head sentence of life imprisonment. www.cdpp.gov.au/news/australias-drug-gang-criminals-prosecuted/

 

STUDY: The Evolution of the Australian 'ndrangheta: an historical perspective | Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology | 2014 - Written by mafia expert Dr Anna Sergi, this paper explores the phenomenon of the 'ndrangheta - a criminal organisation from Calabria, South of Italy and allegedly the most powerful among the Italian mafias - through its migrating routes, in particular by focusing on the case of Australia. www.academia.edu/8614295/The_evolution_of_the_Australian_ndrangheta._An_historical_perspective

 

Italian mafia: Who are Cosa Nostra, Camorra, 'Ndrangheta and Sacra Corona Unita? | International Business Times | 7 May 2015 - The Italian organised crime scene has long been dominated by a multitude of clans and mob families, all generally referred to as "mafia". Belonging to one group does not translate into an automatic alliance to other gangs populating them, as families are actually often at war with each other. Nevertheless, geographical contiguity does come with some shared distinctive traits. More... www.ibtimes.co.uk/italian-mafia-who-are-cosa-nostra-camorra-ndrangheta-sacra-corona-unita-1500221

 

The most powerful mafia you've never heard of | Al Jazeera | 26 Feb 2015 - The 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate - based in Italy's southern Calabria region - is not nearly as well-known as Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian mafia. But the 'Ndrangheta organisation is wealthier and more powerful - with interests spanning the globe from Calabria to Colombia, and as far away as Australia. www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/02/150224083921277.html

 

'Ndrangheta mafia 'made more last year than McDonald's and Deutsche Bank' | The Guardian | 27 Mar 2014 - Study finds crime network made billions of euros from drug trafficking, illegal rubbish disposal and other activities. www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/26/ndrangheta-mafia-mcdonalds-deutsche-bank-study

 

Jv v bc'Ndrangheta: Exploring the mafia's underground world | BBC World News | 1 May 2013 - The biggest cocaine smugglers in Europe are the 'Ndrangheta, a mafia from the "toe of Italy", Calabria. They may not be as well known as their Sicilian counterparts but their drugs and extortion business is worth billions of euros. Academic John Dickie joins an elite special forces squad as they search for the mafia's secret bunkers. www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22315469

Tags: government-and-politics, law-crime-and-justice, australia, italy



The evolution of the Australian 'ndrangheta. An historical perspective.

Anna Sergi

http://www.academia.edu/8614295/The_evolution_of_the_Australian_ndrangheta._An_historical_perspective

The evolution of theAustralian ‘ndrangheta.An historical perspective

 Corresponding author:

Anna Sergi, Centre for Criminology, Department of Sociology, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO43SQ, UK.Email: asergi@essex.ac.uk 

Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology0(0) 1–20

!

The Author(s) 2014

Reprints and permissions:sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav

DOI: 10.1177/0004865814554305

anj.sagepub.com

SAGE

Anna Sergi

Centre for Criminology, Department of Sociology, University of Essex,Colchester, UK

The group from Calabria is now the largest after the Sicilian one and large communities concentrate in cities such as Midland and Perth and in the suburbs of Balcatta, Stirling and Osborne Park (Rando, 2007).

Abstract

This paper explores the phenomenon of the ‘ndrangheta – a criminal organisation fromCalabria, South of Italy and allegedly the most powerful among the Italian mafias – throughits migrating routes. In particular, by focusing on the peculiar case of Australia, the paper aimsto show the overlapping of migrating flows with criminal colonisation, which has proven to bea strategy of this particular mafia. The paper uses the very thin literature on the subjectalongside official reports and newspaper articles on migration and crime, mainly from Italiansources, to trace an historical journey on the migration of people from Calabria to Australiain various moments of the last century. The aim is to present the evolution and growth of Calabrian clans in Australia. The topic is largely unexplored and is still underreported amongAustralian institutions and scholars, which is why the paper chooses an historical approach todescribe the principal paths in this very new field of research.

Keywords

Australian ‘ndrangheta, criminal colonisation, Italian mafias in Australia, Italian migration inAustralia, organised crime in Australia, transnational organised crime

Introduction

The link between migration and organised crime is today under scrutiny and can beconsidered physiological in a world where everything – people, goods, communication – migrates very quickly. In historical perspective, the routes of Italian emigration, from the19th century to the Second World War, are also those that have led to the internationalisation of mafia organisations. However, it cannot be generalised that wherever there have been massive migratory flows – especially those from South of Italy – there have emerged mafia-like organisations on the model of the Italian ones. As pointed out byEmilio Franzina (1998, p. 68), ‘the conditions found on arrival or, rather, after the arrival   

also influence the formation of colonies of mafia and organised crime, which at firstsight, as in the US, ‘

would seem 100% imported from the South of the Peninsula’.

This paper, explores migration from Calabria, South of Italy, towards other contin-ents but mainly towards Australia, in order to establish the link between migration andthe existence of the criminal group from Calabria, the ‘ndrangheta in Australia.Analysing the links between migration and criminality of Calabrian origin inAustralia aims at raising awareness about the presence of the ‘ndrangheta in the country,which is accepted by Italian scholars (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009), but neglected overseas.The international reach of the ‘ndrangheta is a topic of great interest today in Italy andin Europe (Direzione Nazionale Antimafia (DNA), 2012; Europol, 2013). Studying themigration of Calabrian organised crime to Australia can add to the study of the potency of the ‘ndrangheta in general.This work is a preliminary attempt to approach this topic from an historical crim-inological perspective, and draws together the very confused and thin literature on thesubject with media analysis. The diculties of access to certain information and thepredominant use of already existing data from Italian sources or journalistic accountsrepresent a limit of the study, but nevertheless could represent a starting point for morefocused research.

The ‘ndrangheta – from Calabria to the world

Calabria is one of the 20 regions in Italy. It has a population of less than 2 million,divided in five provinces and 409 municipalities of which 155 are in Cosenza, 80 inCatanzaro, 97 in Reggio Calabria, 50 in Vibo Valentia, 27 in Crotone (Figure 1 and ISTAT, 2013). National statistics reveal that in 2011 the region was behind, both in terms of average productivity rate (48.8% compared with the national average of 62.2%)and in terms of unemployment rate (12.7% compared with the national average of 8.4%) (Camera di Commercio Reggio Calabria, 2012).Unemployment and underdevelopment have been both the eect and the cause of the presence of the Calabrian mafia (Censis, 2009; Vittorio, 2009), which in its territory acts as governing actor and is the main, sometimes the only, investor (Ciconte, 2013;Sciarrone, 2010; Sergi, 2014). Considered the most powerful among Italian mafias (DNA, 2012), the ‘ndrangheta controls a great portion of the cocaine tracking inEurope (Calderoni, 2012). Its turnover in 2008 was estimated to be more than 44 billion Euros, 2.7% of the Italian GDP (Eurispes, 2008), even though these figures have beencriticised (Calderoni, 2014). The ‘ndrangheta relies mainly on family ties and on a sharedculture rooted in Calabria. The Italian National Anti mafia Prosecutor (DNA, 2012) confirms how it seems clear that the core of the organisation still is in Calabria, eventhough the organisation is known for its delocalisation policies. The movements, migration and transplantation of the ‘ndrangheta beyond regional and national borders is theobject of growing research interest (Calderoni, 2011, 2012; Dickie, 2013; Lavorgna &Sergi, 2014; Sciarrone & Storti, 2014; Varese, 2006, 2011). The penetration of the criminal organisation is arguably escalating and has become a worrisome phenomenon incontemporary times.

The geography of the ‘ locali 2009; Varese, 2011). There is not, in fact, an automatic link between the presence of communities of immigrants from areas with a strong mafia presence in Calabria and criminal colonisation (DNA, 2012, p. 109). Countries such as Argentina or Brazil, for example, both destinations of massive migratory flows, did not experience settlements of Calabrian criminal clans (DNA, 2012; Varese, 2011). In fact, although one certainlycannot exclude that among the many Calabrians escaping from poverty and oppressionthere were criminals (Scarzanella, 2004), Italian Mafias, as we know them today, do not seem to have ever become deeply rooted in Argentina (Varese, 2011). In 1930, the Italianscholar Oreste Ciattino published a book to explain criminality in the Argentineancapital Buenos Aires: ‘together with the atavistic crime we also have evolutionary delin-quency; together with the murderer, the thief, we have a criminal who appears in society(Ciattino, 1930 as cited in Magnani-Tedeschi, 1931). It was, in short, a type of crimin-ality fed by the atmosphere of the city with poverty as fundamental cause, but there was nothing to indicate the presence of Calabrian mafia clans. This does not mean thatArgentina has not historically known mafia-like phenomena. In the 1930s, in fact, the Sicilian mafia was present in the territory and the city of Rosario was sadly compared to the Chicago of Al Capone, brutally aected by the activities of two clans who were fighting for control over illegal activities including gambling and prostitution exploit-ation (Dı ´az Araujo, 1971; Varese, 2011). According to Varese’s research (2011), how-ever, dierently from what happened in other parts of the world (such as New York), suitable opportunities were lacking in Rosario; for example, protection rackets could not be successfully imposed on illegal markets. This prevented a proper transplantation of mafia methods in the city. In recent years all South American countries, and therefore Argentina as well, have been aected by the transnationalisation ‘policy’ of the Calabrian ‘ndrangheta, which seeks to monopolise the cocaine market and must necessarily maintain direct relationships with the criminal stakeholders of strategic producer and exporter countriesthrough emissaries on site (DNA, 2012). However, what happened in Argentina similarly occurred in Brazil, another country of Italian migration. At the end of the 19thcentury, the Italian community was massively present and active in Sa ˜o Paulo, causing alot of concern, in fact, from 1895 to 1898, the area of Sa ˜o Carlos, an area with a high concentration of migrants from Calabria, was disturbed by violent raids of a gang of 40Calabrians and their leader from Monterosso Calabro, Francesco Mangano (Monsma,Truzzi, & da Conceicao, 2003). Relying on ethnic solidarity, this gang was responsible for arson, assaults, thefts, injuries and murders. ‘The Mangano gang of Sa ˜ o Carlos is the only known example, even if the topic is under-studied and it may be that in Sa ˜ o Paulo there may have been other Italian bandits with more limited roles’ (Monsma et al., 2003, p. 73).The fact that mafia-type organised crime did not root in Brazil is probably due to the lack of a suitable environment for the development of rural banditry – as the one of Calabrian tradition in the 19th century (Ciconte, 2011) – alongside the unavailability of elites who would protect criminal activities and the inability to bribe the police (Monsmaet al., 2003). Dierent, however, has been the situation in the USA, Canada and Australia, countries in which the presence of criminal groups with a clear ethnic connotation – settled inCalabrian communities (Coletti, 1995) – is documented as early as the last century.Already in 1911 a parliamentary committee in the US launched the alarm and pointed to the new Calabrian and Sicilian immigrants – who, since 1900, had given priority to routes towards Ellis Island. As confirmed in judicial reports of the time (Critchle, 2009), they were considered responsible for the growth of urban delinquency. The names of Frank Costello (born Francesco Castiglia in Lauropoli, village near Cassano Jonio inCalabria) and Albert Anastasia (born Umberto Anastasio in Parghelia) are perhaps the most well known Calabrian bosses associated with Cosa Nostra families(Critchle, 2009).

Sergi

 Figure 1.

 Region of Calabria, South of Italy (GoogleMaps). The pointer ‘A’ indicates the position of Plati’, within the area of Reggio Calabria where migration has been more influential and where the‘ndrangheta is believed to be most powerful.

Calabrian mafia groups settled in Canada in the early years of the 20th century. Inthose years, Giuseppe ‘‘Joe’’ Musolino, cousin of the famous Calabrian bandit with thesame name (Ciconte, 2011), was active in Toronto at the head of a gang of Mafiosi fromthe Aspromonte (mountains in the Centre-South of Calabria) devoted to extortion andracketeering (Schneider, 2009). The more Calabrian communities integrated in the coun-try, the more criminal bonds stretched. Between Toronto and Montreal, the ‘ndranghetahad an autonomous and overwhelming development (Edwards & Auger, 2012). Some mafia bosses are part of the history of crime and their clans are an example of the establishment of the organisational model of the Calabrian ‘ndrine (clans) in lands of emigration. Particularly notorious was clan of Rocco Zito, considered one of the first patriarchs of the Canadian ‘ndrangheta (Edwards & Auger, 2012; Nicaso & Lamothe,2005). Also notorious was Rocco Perri, a poor immigrant who had left Platı ` (a smalltown in the province of Reggio Calabria and in the heart of the Aspromonte mountains, see Figure 1) at the age of 16. He became the most well-known smuggler in Canada (and had among its clients Al Capone and Joseph Kennedy, father of the future president of the United States) (Edwards & Auger, 2012; Nicaso, 2005). He accumulated afortuneand died without an heir (Sergi, 2004). Vic Crotoni originally from Mammola, andPaolo Violi, originally from Sinopoli, are both remembered as the heads of theCanadian ‘ndrangheta, in the 1960s and 1970s, respectively (O’Connor, 2011).

Australian  &  New  Zeal and  Journ al  of  Crimin olog y

 Calabrians in Australia: Between proletarians and criminals

Australia has always been considered an historical base of the Calabrian ‘honouredsociety’ even without systematic studies on the topic (Abadinsky, 2010). Certainly, inthe 20th century, the village of Platı ` in particular – a stronghold of the Mafia – and in general the province of Reggio Calabria have provided the most substantial share of regional migration to Australia. Until 1940, however, it remained a small minority of the Italian community as a whole. In fact, according to the data from Australian registers analysed by Charles A Price, the migrants from the area of Reggio accounted for only 8% of Italians (Price, 1954). However, since the beginning of the 20th century around70,000 Calabrians have moved to Australia to stay, initially employed as shepherds, miners or farmers (Baggio & Sanfilippo, 2011; Castle, Alcorso, Rando, & Vasta,1992). In addition to Platı `, many small and poor towns of Calabria, like San Lucaand Locri, have provided a constant flow of migrants to Australia.

The group from Calabria is now the largest after the Sicilian one and large communities concentrate in cities such as Midland and Perth and in the suburbs of Balcatta, Stirling and Osborne Park (Rando, 2007).

A few figures – even though largely from secondary data – are enough to give the dimension of migration from Calabria to Australia, which, however, was not always such a popular destination for Calabrians (Baggio & Sanfilippo, 2011; Castle et al.,1992). From 1876 to 1925, for example, only 1903 Calabrians undertook the trip to the sunny Oceanic shores, of whom 1620 departed from 1919 to 1925, an in significant number in comparison with migration flows towards South and North America in the same years. From 1876 to 1900 only 14 Calabrians reached Australia; 35 in 1901 and 150in 1910. The highest number, 860, arrived in 1922. Because of the uncertain and ambiguous migration policy of the fascist regime (Vernassa, 2003) and the restrictions introduced in the US and Argentina, in 1924 and in 1925 figures were still high: 238 and490, respectively (O’Connor, 1993). In these years the existence of criminal activities of agroup of Calabrians, di usely knows as ‘black hand’, was ascertained, in the Tropic of Capricorn, which had attracted migrants with the opportunity to work in the sugar caneplantations (Harvey, 1948; O’Connor, 1993).Ethnic factors together with the nationalist and corporatist policy implemented bythe fascist diplomatic and consular representatives in the country favoured the ten-dency of new migratory contingents to aggregate (O’Connor, 1993). The new guide-lines of the fascist government dried up migration flows not only to Australia, whereItalians su ered personal restrictions at the outbreak of World War II. InQueensland only – where one-third of the total Italian population had settled – 2216 immigrants were interned in concentration camps; of these, 602 already hadBritish citizenship, 41 had been born in Australia (Rando, 2005) and many were fromCalabria (ITENETs, 2007).After World War II, thanks to a bilateral agreement for a controlled migrationbetween Italy and Australia, signed in 1951 and renewed three years later, the numberof Italians moving to the country became quantitatively significant. In this period, flowsof migrants and criminals overlapped in a clear and obvious way, at least for Italianauthorities (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). Driven by economic needs, more than 360,000people migrated from Italy between 1947 and 1976, 280,000 of them seeking permanent employment (Bertelli, 1983; ITENETs, 2007). Australia became one of the main destination countries, with the state of Victoria most favoured. This was not only true for Italian migrants: between 1945 and 1979, 4.8 million immigrants reached Australia,8.5% of which were Italian (Bertelli, 1983; ITENETs, 2007). The net balance of Calabrian immigrants in Australia has been remarkable. Only between 1959 and 1979 – according to data compiled by Bertelli (1983) – there were 36,675 Calabrians, 26.2% of the total Italian migrants, the highest share among the regions (followed by Sicily, another region very exposed to mafia  influences, with 35,615 people equal to 25% of the total).In the Calabrian Diaspora in Australia, migration routes became one with the routesof mafia clans in search of new spaces and markets. From areas of classical and highdensity mafia activities, such as Platı `, Locri and San Luca (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009) dierent mafia families have exported their illegal activities to Australia with methods and models similar to those used in Calabria. By no means did all migrants have links with mafia families. It seems certain, however, that since the 1920s, Calabrians – considered racially inferior and discriminated against because of their brown skin – brought with them elements of their popular culture, some of which are also part of mafia culture(ITENETs, 2007). Every year in Australia, for example, there is a celebration for OurLady of the Mountain of Polsi. For the majority of migrants the festival serves to re-arm the identity of origin, as rightly pointed out by the Italian–Australian scholarGerardo Papalia (2008), and in this sense it can be seen as one of the many Marian feasts of immigrants from Calabria around the world (Rosoli, 1990). However, it cannot bedismissed that such a festival also has strong symbolic significance for the clans of the ‘ndrangheta who consider the Madonna of the Mountain their protector. In Polsi, the ‘ndrangheta holds their annual summit during the festival to regulate the lives and a airs of the criminal organisation (Ciconte, 2011; DNA, 2012).

The rise of the ’ndrangheta in Australia

The rise of the Calabrian clans in Australia began in the 1920s when the first signs of aviolent battle for control of fruit and vegetable markets in the state of Queensland were recorded (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009; Harvey, 1948). A historical review of the presence of the ’ndrangheta in the country was undertaken in November 1964 by Colin Brown, anAustralian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) agent, leading a committee onItalian organised crime (Minuti & Nicaso, 1994; Spagnolo, 2010). The Brown committeepublished the results of a very intensive investigation in a 147-page report entitled ‘

TheItalian Criminal Society in Australia

’, which was delivered to federal authorities and never made public in its entirety (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). The report indicated that the arrival of the Calabrian ‘

Ndrine  in Australia had a precise date, 18 December 1922, with thearrival of the ship ‘Re d’Italia’ (King of Italy), considered in the report the first carrier of Calabrian criminality to Australia. The records held by the National Archives of Australia do confirm this account: the ship Re d’Italia transported more than 1000people from various locations in Italy, to Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. Amongthose immigrants were also people with links to criminal clans in the country of origin;three of them are considered the founders of the ‘ndrangheta in Australia (Ciconte &Macrı `, 2009; Minuti & Nicaso, 1994). Two of them are known: Antonio Barbaro, whos ettled in the state of Victoria, known as ‘ the toad ’, and Domenico Strano, who settledwith his family in New South Wales where he died in 1965 and received a very sumptuousfuneral. The identity of the third founder is uncertain, even though it is known that heestablished the ‘ locale’ in Perth. The settlement of the Calabrian clans, after the arrival of the ship ‘Red’Italia’, always according to the Brown committee, took place in a few years. The most attractive business, before entering into the drug market, was the fruit and vegetables farmers markets in the state of Queensland, at the time controlled by mafia boss Vincenzo d’Agostino (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009; Harvey, 1948; Spagnolo, 2010).Several criminal episodes  red flags of the presence of Calabrian clans in theterritory – took place from 1928 to 1940 (Harvey, 1948). The area of Ayr, Ingham and Innisfail in northern Queensland, where Calabrian migrants had settled, was the scene of 30 criminal acts including 10 murders attributed to a mafia war whose conten-ders were Calabrian and Sicilian migrants (Harvey, 1948; Spagnolo, 2010). But no onewas really able to understand and interpret those events at the time, which were attributed, as noted by Salvatore Lupo (2008) and picturesquely described by John Harvey(1948), to an organisation called ‘

The Black Hand ’, based also in Canada. News reportsof the time also show some significant events that have ethnic and criminal connotations linked to Calabrians. On 24 December 1925, for example, a group of 8–12 Italians, after a fight in the pool, in Victoria Street, North of Melbourne, faced a policeman, Constable James Clare, who was with two colleagues in civilian clothes. According to the news reported in The Argus newspaper in Melbourne on the 26th of December, Clare diedafter having been stabbed. Accused of the crime was Calabrian immigrant Domenico Condello, who had arrived in Australia three years before. At his court appearance on 19January 1926, Condello was acquitted, claiming that Clare had oended him and his friends without even declaring he was a policeman. The funds necessary for his defence had been collected in the Italian community by the boss Antonio Barbaro (Ciconte &Macrı `, 2009; Macrı `, 2012).

The ‘ndrangheta in those years was establishing new ‘locali ’. Letters found in thehouse of Domenico Belle in 1930 revealed to the police that Antonio Brando was theleader of a clan in Melbourne. Brando wrote that the mere fact of being born in Platı `was, in his view, more than enough to assert his authority (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). Twoyears later, on 20 January, Rocco Trimarchi was killed in Grith; he was listed as one of the first bosses of the city in a report by John T Cusack, supervisor of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who arrived in Australia to give advice to investigators together with Italian police commissioner Ugo Macera, who had previously worked in Calabria (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009).The Brown committee had also investigated other names of the Calabrian clans: for example, Joseph Roller, boss in Mildura, who died in 1964 with his two sons taking overthe leadership of the clan, and Domenico Alvaro, known as ‘Mr. Lenin’, who was bornin Calabria in 1910 and who became the boss of a clan in Sydney in 1960 after the death of Ra aele Mafrici (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). The clans of the ‘ndrangheta, in short, had spread across Australia together with migrants and controlled various licit and illicit businesses. It is important to clarify that, according to the Italian Antimafia Prosecutors(DNA, 2012), Australia, together with Canada and the North of Italy represents todayone of the three known ‘branches’ of the ‘ndrangheta outside Calabria. According to theDNA there is in fact an ‘Australian Crimine’,headquarters of the ‘ndrangheta in Australia, which preserves the unity and the coordination of the organisation far from Italy. The ‘Australian Crimine’ does not allow the organisation to fall apart. When, for example, Vincenzo Angiletta attempted to fill the gap of power left after the death of Domenico  Italiano – boss of Melbourne known as ‘

The Pope

’ who died in 1962, – the Australian Crimine ordered his murder in 1963 to avoid the proliferation of ‘bastard’ clans (Spagnolo, 2010). The coordinating structure, in fact, does not allow open and blatant violation of the rules: it is prohibited – as confirmed in the latest report of th eNational Anti-Mafia Directorate (DNA, 2012, p. 124) for a similar recent case

. . . that, after breaking or cracking the relationships with his locale and the ‘‘AustralianCrimine’’, a member, could ever get the chance to open a new ‘locale’ in Australia and become independent from the context, by seeking support from other authoritativemembers…..

Interestingly, in the second half of the sixties, when migration essentially stopped, theregeneration of existing mafia clans with new recruits from Italy also stopped. Accordingto Italian authorities, when Calabrian migration headed to European countries and theNorth of Italy (Ciconte, 2010, 2013), the Australian ‘ndrangheta, already formed, con-tinued to provide a perfect anchor for criminal activities away from the motherland andunder the supervision of the  Australian Crimine.

The growth of the Australian ’ndrangheta

Often compared to the famous ‘Five Families’ of New York are the ‘seven families’ of Adelaide, the clans Sergi, Barbaro, Trimboli, Romeo, Nirta, Alvaro, and Perre, whichare based in South Australia, but with branches throughout the country. The ‘sevencells’ have been repeatedly linked to the ‘ndrine in Calabria (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009; Macrı `, 2012). Similarly, families like Arena, Muratore, Benvenuto, and Condello.Medici, Musitano, Pochi, Pelle, Polimeni and Agresta, among others, exercise theircontrol in the rural areas (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009; DNA, 2012). Their presence datesback to the early 1950s. In October 1951, a severe flood hit Platı ` causing 18 deaths,

 ‘whenthe river Ciancio came, furious out of water, from the throat of Aspromonte, [and] tookaway two-thirds of the poor households

’ (Sergi, 1994). The village back then comprised7200 inhabitants of whom 5000 eventually chose to pack and leave (Ciconte & Macrı `,2009). The escalation of the local clans and the migration to Australia of many aliates of the ’ndrangheta, from Platı ` and nearby villages, disguised among peasants, workers,skilled craftsmen and enterprising merchants, ‘driven away by age-old poverty and natural  plagues’ (Sergi, 1989), dates back to that event (Manfredi, 1993). Calabrian migrantswere in search of better living conditions legally or illegally obtained. New South Walesbecame the Promised Land. The presence of so many immigrants coming from the areaof Platı ` even led to the founding of a town called New Platı ` (near Fairfield), west of Sydney (Veltri & Laudati, 2009).Thanks to the flood in Calabria, the Australian ’ndrangheta experienced its economicboom (L’Europeo, 1988) and the peak of its colonisation process in the fifties. At thesame time, the Australian groups also played a big role in the growth of the clans inCalabria. In Grith, for example, the ‘ndrangheta laundered the money from the kidnappings that, especially in the 1980s, have been the major activities for the clans of the triangle Platı `-San Luca-Careri (Ciconte, 2011). The Australian Immigration Departmentraised the alarm, fearing the illegal movement of members of the ‘ndrangheta andrequiring clear criminal records to enter the country 
(ITENETs, 2007). Neither
Calabrians nor Sicilians enjoyed a good reputation and their entry into the countrywas not very welcome (ITENETs, 2007; Sgro `, 2000). However, the number of people already settled made it possible to preserve and keep the Calabrian community intact in the following years. Since the 1980s, in any case, the Australian authorities could not ignore the fact thatthe criminal clans of Calabrian origin were becoming a social phenomenon deeplyrooted in some areas of the country. In 1981, the Australian Bureau of CriminalIntelligence (ABCI) was already aware of the presence of the ‘ndrangheta in the country.According to the ABCI, Australia was divided into six areas by the Calabrian mafia, each of which had its own leader (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). The number is not accidental: it is the same number found in Canada or in Basilicata, where with the contribution of the ‘ndrangheta has recently grown the fifth Italian mafia, called the Basilischi (Sergi,2012b). Every independent sub-group of the ‘ndrangheta is always made up of six cells,because traditionally the seventh is always meant to be in Calabria. Seven units are, in fact, in Calabria (Ciconte, 2011; DNA, 2012). According to the ABCI, in the early 1980’sGiuseppe Carbone was the boss in South Australia, Domenico Alvaro in New South Wales, Pasquale Alvaro in Canberra, Peter Callipari in Gri
th, Giuseppe Alvaro inAdelaide and Pasquale Barbaro in Melbourne (Sergi, 2012a). The situation is likely to have remained unchanged today, at least in terms of areas of influence. For example, in May 2012, Barbaro was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the organisation devoted to the importation of drugs from Italy. This event brought the ‘ndrangheta to the forefront in the news, but it also shows how the history of the organisation is still very influential. According to Italian prosecutor Vincenzo Macrı ` (2012) the knowledge of the clans and the phenomenon in the 1980s and the 1990s was more specific andfocused than it is today.In 1987, the federal National Crime Authority (NCA) sought the authority of Italianexperts to investigate a secret society of Calabrian origin, known by various names,including the name ‘ndrangheta, already used in Calabria (Ciconte & Macrı `,2009).The Italian police sent Chief Nicola Calipari to Australia for a period of threemonths to ascertain whether the presence of Calabrian migrants in Australia constituted a mafia-style threat on Australian soil. Calipari’s report, published on 2 May 1988 – and released entirely for the Italian audience only in the book by Ciconte and Macrı ` in 2009 – refers to a ‘Grith Group’ and confirms the presence of Calabrian mafia clans mainlyengaging in drug-tracking. Two codes of rituals of the ‘ndrangheta, onefound atDomenico Nirta’s house in Giralang, on the outskirts of Canberra, and anotherseized in December 1987 from Ra aele Alvaro in Adelaide, were analysed, interpretedand reconstructed by the Australian authorities. The two codes closely resemble othercodes found in Calabria, are handwritten and, most likely, orally transmitted, whichwould explain the linguistic errors and archaic vocabulary (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009;Sergi, 2012a). The Calipari Report reveals that the first code was found during asecret ritual among 12 men who were about to celebrate the initiation ceremony of one or more ‘picciotti’ (youngest members awaiting full aliation). Nirta’s code istitled the ‘Rituale di Sgarro’ (Ritual of Misdeed) while Alvaro’s one is titled ‘Ritualedi Camorra’ (Ritual of Extortion). Even though full of linguistic mistakes, the texts are still comprehensible and show many similarities with aliation codes found in Calabria(Spagnolo, 2010).

A focus on the activities

Analysis of the organisation’s criminal activities, derived mainly from the CalipariReport, shows the organisation engaged in the cultivation and tracking of cannabis,ecstasy and cocaine, extortion, tax evasion, insurance fraud, illegal gambling, and – although rarely – murder (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). As Calabria and in other placeswhere the ‘ndrangheta has moved, the first stage of the criminal penetration is theattempt to monopolise the drug market, while investments in other activities and interestin politics represent a second, more sophisticated, level (Ciconte, 2011). Violence mayalso follow, usually in the form of ‘‘excellent murders’’

 – premeditated assassinations of key individuals (Barbagli & Gutti, 2002). An example of an ‘excellent murder’ is that of Bruce Donald MacKay, 44, a member of the Liberal Party in Grith, who was killed in July 1977 because its press campaign against drug production in the country was diected against families who had emigrated from the Ionian coast of the province of Reggio Calabria (McCoy, 1980; Minuti & Nicaso, 1994), and for his role in the arrest of four people accused of drug-tracking, three of whom had emigrated from Calabria(Sergi, 2012a). The Calipari report in 1988 confirms the links between the families oGrith and this murder (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). Robert Trimboli, a boss who hademigrated from Platı ` and who had never severed the ties with mafia clans in the countryof origin, was charged with the murder. Born in 1931 in Platı `, he had spent his childhoodin his parents’ farm not far from Grith. Considered the king of drug-tracking hehad been the one who forcefully introduced the ‘ndrangheta into the drug business  (Small & Gilling, 2009). ‘For investigators all over the world he was the real brain of drug tracking in the continent’ (Sergi, 1991). Extremely rich and powerful enough to travelon a yacht provocatively named ‘Cannabis’, Trimboli, immediately after his trial, man-aged to flee to Spain where he died in 1987. The people investigated in the trial were alloriginally from Platı `: bosses and members of the clans Sergi, Barbaro and Trimboli whohad established large illegal plantations of marijuana in the spacious, lush regions of Australia (Sergi, 1991). By financing the purchase of lands with the proceeds of kidnap-ping, in the 1980s, the ‘ndrangheta controlled illegal plantations in Grith, Michelagoand Yerlarbin ‘capable of delivering profits estimated at around 60 million dollars per year (Sergi, 1991, p. 85). New South Wales had been turned into a huge mafia corporation.Following the MacKay murder, the murder of Colin Winchester in 1989 changedforever the perception of Calabrian immigrants (Kennedy, 2000). Colin Winchester,Deputy Chief of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), was murdered outside his homein Canberra. He had been involved in a delicate investigation aimed at mapping of land purchased by mafia families of Platı ` (Gratteri & Nicaso, 2009); after his death 188cannabis plantations were discovered precisely on lands owned by Calabrians.Campbell, Toohey, and Pinwill (1992, p. 228) reported claims by authorities linking the Winchester murder to criminal syndicates of Calabrian origin:

‘This particular murder has all of the hallmarks of what happens in Italy and in the US where criminals execute judges as well as top law enforcement ocers to coerce them into submission’..

(Small & Gilling, 2009). ‘

For investigators all over the world he was the real brain of drug tracking in the continent’ (Sergi, 1991). Extremely rich and powerful enough to travel on a yacht provocatively named ‘Cannabis’, Trimboli, immediately after his trial, man-aged to flee to Spain where he died in 1987. The people investigated in the trial were all originally from Platı `: bosses and members of the clans Sergi, Barbaro and Trimboli whohad established large illegal plantations of marijuana in the spacious, lush regions of Australia (Sergi, 1991). By financing the purchase of lands with the proceeds of kidnap-ping, in the 1980s, the ‘ndrangheta controlled illegal plantations in Grith, Michelagoand Yerlarbin ‘

capable of delivering profits estimated at around 60 million dollars per year

(Sergi, 1991, p. 85). New South Wales had been turned into a huge mafia corporation. Following the MacKay murder, the murder of Colin Winchester in 1989 changedforever the perception of Calabrian immigrants (Kennedy, 2000). Colin Winchester,Deputy Chief of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), was murdered outside his homein Canberra. He had been involved in a delicate investigation aimed at mapping of landpurchased by mafia families of Platı ` (Gratteri & Nicaso, 2009); after his death 188cannabis plantations were discovered precisely on lands owned by Calabrians.Campbell, Toohey, and Pinwill (1992, p. 228) reported claims by authorities linkingthe Winchester murder to criminal syndicates of Calabrian origin:

‘This particular murder has all of the hallmarks of what happens in Italy and in the USwhere criminals execute judges as well as top law enforcement ocers to coerce them intosubmission.’

However, the case has been in the eye of the media for years and has been considered anexample of racism and group polarisation (Campbell, Toohey, & Pinwill, 1992;Kennedy, 2000). Former public servant David Eastman was convicted in 1995 for thismurder, while the mafia hypothesis was, at least formally, abandoned (Jarrett,1995).However, in August 2012 an inquiry on Eastman’s conviction was announced(Waterford, 2013). On 31st May 2014, the inquiry recommended that Eastman’s con-viction to be quashed, because of ‘deeply flawed forensic evidence’ (Owens, 2014). The inquiry was welcomed by Anti mafia prosecutor Vincenzo Macrı `, who is convinced thatthe murder was certainly linked to the ‘ndrangheta (Guilliat, 2013; Macrı `, 2012).At the time of the Winchester murder, between the mid-1990s and 2001, several police operations in Italy (Zag, Domino and Decollo) have shed light on the international networks of drugs and criminal activity in Australia and beyond. Operation Siderno Group, in the first half of the decade, showed how the ’ndrangheta operated in the Northern United States and Canada, and also had ties with Australia (mostly for cannabis tracking). Australia, in fact, oers fertile fields and certain availability of cheap labour, as well as less rigorous controls in some areas (Ciconte, 2011). Operation Zag inthe mid-1990s was an investigation led by anti-Mafia prosecutors in Reggio Calabria,which revealed the relationships between criminals and Calabrian partners in Australiainvolved in money laundering after the export of cocaine from Italy to Australia (Sergi,2012a). Operation Domino tracked the import of cocaine from Colombia and Turkeyand worked on the assumption that there was a unique organisation from Colombiathrough Italy towards the rest of the world. Operation Decollo (1991–2001) revealed atriangular relationship between Colombia, Italy and Australia (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009; Sergi, 2012a). Members of the ‘ndrangheta had bought from Colombian drugtrackers between 100 and 800kg of cocaine packaged in blocks of marble and stone,and had sent them to a shipping company in the Calabrian port of Gioia Tauro or to theport of Adelaide. The investigation also involved shipments of cocaine from Venezuelaand Colombia to Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany, and in Togo andAustralia. The trial was held in Italy, but four members of the Australian group (threeItalian-born and one Australian) were also charged in Australia (Sergi, 2012a).Also in the 1990s, another murder that presents a strong and organised ‘ndrangheta inAustralia was the murder of Geo rey Bowen, National Crime Authority detective. Hewas killed in 2 March 1994 by a package that exploded in his oce in Adelaide rightafter delivery (Ciconte & Macri, 2009; Madigan, 2013). The day after he was murdered,Bowen was scheduled to testify in a trial against, among others, Domenico andFrancesco Perre, from Platı `. The two brothers had been involved in an operation inthe Hidden Valley in 1993, leading to the arrest of 13 people after the discovery of cannabis plantations (15,000 plants) for a total value of over $40 million (Sergi,2012a). Following the murder of Bowen, Dominic Perre was arrested in July 1994,but the investigating authorities failed to prove allegations against him. To this day the case remains unresolved and is considered one of the most important unsolved cases in the country (Madigan, 2013), which causes cyclical interest from the localmedia. Most recently, a documentary dedicated to the event, titled ‘Terror at home’was aired by Sunday Night  in July 2012.

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