Reggio Calabria, Italy - 31 August, 2012: Anti-mafia prosecutor of Reggio Calabria Nicola Gratteri, 54, is here in his armored office in the courthouse of Reggio Calabria, Italy, on August 31, 2012. In June Mr Gratteri found out about a plot to kill him. A mafia boss-turned-state witness had confessed that a prominent family belonging to the Calabrian mafia ‘Ndrangheta had recently purchased 36 pounds of plastic explosives, with which they’d planned to blow up Gratteri and his security escort.
The Libri gang of Reggio Calabria has managed to infiltrate even the construction of the new palace of justice, not through the traditional system of bribes, but by legally signing for the delivery of services and labor that was controlled and taxed by the mob.
Calabria is one of the poorest Italian regions which suffers from lack of basic services (hospitals without proper equipment, irregular electricity and water), the product of disparate political interests vying for power. The region is dominated by the 'Ndrangheta (pronounced en-Drang-get-A), which authorities say is the most powerful in Italy because it is the welthiest and best organized.
The region today has nearly 20 percent unemployment, 40 percent youth unemployment and among the lowest female unemployment and broadband Internet levels in Italy. Business suffer since poor infrastructure drives up transport costs.
Last summer the European Union's anti-fraud office demanded that Italy redirect 380 million euros in structural funding away from the A3 Salerno - Reggio Calabria highway after finding widespread evidence of corruption in the bidding processes.
- ©2012 Gianni Cipriano
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