Three women have been arrested in an operation targeting Italy’s most powerful crime family, the ‘Ndrangheta, Polish police reported on Wednesday.
The ‘Ndrangheta is based in the southern region of Calabria, the toe of Italy’s boot, and has surpassed Cosa Nostra to become the most powerful mafia group in the country – and one of the largest crime gangs in the world.
The women, all in their forties, were detained on the basis of European Arrest Warrants issued by Italy on the suspicion of their involvement in an Italian mafia organisation and money laundering.
They were board members of fictitious companies whose accounts were used to transfer the money of criminal groups, police said.
The women are suspected of taking part in tax evasion to the detriment of the Italian state budget and laundering money from criminal activities.
“The criminal group operated in Poland and Italy. Its members created companies and issued forged documents that confirmed fictitious transactions,” Justyna Pasieczyńska, spokesperson for the Polish National Revenue Administration, said.
“The value of fictitious transactions is estimated at over EUR 50 mln,” she added.
The entire group consisted of at least 30 people cooperating with the ‘Ndrangheta. Suspects’ property worth almost EUR 12 mln was seized, including four villas located at the seaside and mountain resorts, cars, motorcycles, jewellery and luxury watches, she added.
The women, who will now be extradited to Italy, gave cash to couriers who took it back to Italy. Two of these couriers were arrested with nearly EUR 500,000 in their car.
One of the detained women admitted that she had withdrawn over EUR 15 mln from banks to be transferred in this way.