Covid19 has provoked catastrophic damages for the economy of the most vulnerable families. In this situation, the Mafia gangs offer aids in exchange for criminal activities.
The Italian Mafia clans are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to buy favour with the poor families facing financial ruin and they offer loans and food, by adopting an age-old recruitment strategy.
After decades of campaigning to curb the influence of the Mafia in its traditional strongholds of southern Italy, charitable groups say the pandemic has created new opportunities for organised crime to regain people’s loyalties.
“We know that ‘families of friends’, all of them loan sharks, are making themselves available to give money to the people in difficulty,” said Amedeo Scaramella, using a euphemism by which clans of the Camorra criminal syndicate are known.
Scaramella, a lawyer, is the head of the San Giuseppe Moscato Foundation, a group of Catholics from Naples who fights usury, also by granting bank loans to persons who are normally considered as credit risk.
Reuters declared that the usurers start to offer loans at rates that compete with banks and then they trap the borrowers by driving the interests up to 300%.
Federico Cafiero De Raho, Italy's national anti-Mafia prosecutor, stated that his agents noticed suspicious activities in Naples, among which the Camorra clans who distribute free food to the families who lack money due to the lockdown.
“We have evidence,” De Raho told Reuters, declining to give details because investigations are ongoing.
As it already happened in the past, it is true that the Mafia wants these favours to be repaid with affiliation, by asking to those who benefited from them to carry out criminal activities such as transporting drugs.
“The Camorra knows this is the right time to invest”, concluded De Raho.