Italian Rail Operator RFI Entangled in Criminal Network of ‘Ndrangheta Mafia


Sports Betting Update: Italy’s Crackdown on Organized Crime Involving Major Rail Operator

Posted on: November 8, 2023, 06:59h.

Last updated on: November 8, 2023, 06:59h.

In what Italy hopes will be a significant crackdown on organized crime, officials from the Provincial Command of the Guardia di Finanza in Milan, Italy, have once again gone after the ‘Ndrangheta mafia. This latest attempt to break up the leading mob in illegal gambling, drug and human trafficking and other crimes has ensnared Italy’s primary rail operator, RFI.

A train operated by RFI in Italy pulls out of a maintenance shed
A train operated by RFI in Italy pulls out of a maintenance shed. The company may have been inadvertently helping the ‘Ndrangheta mafia. (Image: FS News)

The Guardia di Finanza, a specialized police force under the Minister of Economy and Finance dealing with financial crimes, is investigating 11 companies across Italy. They all allegedly served as nothing more than fronts for the ‘Ndrangheta.

The operation has uncovered a web of alleged tax fraud amounting to over €10 million (US$10.68 million). The authorities seized the money as they work to try to determine if any of it is legitimate.

Hollow Shells

The unidentified companies, on paper, were engaged in supplying maintenance, vehicles and staff to various RFI stations across the country for several years. However, authorities suspect that these entities are nothing more than shell companies involved in submitting thousands of fake invoices. In doing so, they aided the expansion of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia within Italy.

This latest development is part of an ongoing investigation that stems from a previous operation, Triton, that resulted in the arrest of 15 individuals in early 2022. The charges against them include tax fraud, bankruptcy, money laundering and association with the mafia.

This criminal group is involved in drug trafficking, as well as exerting influence over local political affairs, controlling economic activities, money laundering and more. Despite Italy’s efforts to tear it down, the ‘Ndrangheta have continued to thrive.

The RFI owns Italy’s railway network and is a subsidiary of state-owned Ferrovie dello Stato (Railway of the State). It’s a defendant in the case and, as such, it’s likely that the ongoing investigation is going to uncover more criminal activity.

Sweeping Up the Mafia

At the same time the Guardia di Finanza was seizing millions of euros, Carabinieri authorities were arresting 12 individuals in the provinces of Rome and Reggio Calabria. The arrested individuals, including both Italian and Albanian citizens, are under serious suspicion for involvement in various capacities related to crimes of association aimed at drug trafficking and dealing.

The operation stems from investigative findings originating from the same Triton investigation. That operation had previously dismantled a local faction of the ‘Ndrangheta operating in the municipalities of Anzio and Nettuno.

The investigation specifically revealed that one ‘Ndrangheta member had expanded his drug trafficking operations in Italy from Anzio and Nettuno to Rocca di Papa and Grottaferrata. In these municipalities, the trade became a driving force behind the ‘Ndrangheta’s growth.

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