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Friday, 28 November 2008

10 Sicilian businessmen who had allegedly been paying Mafia 'protection money' for over 40 years

20:09 |

Anti-Mafia police on Friday arrested 10 Sicilian businessmen who had allegedly been paying Mafia 'protection money' for over 40 years. Giuseppe De Riggi, who spearheaded the operation, described the arrests as "a winning move" that could encourage more businesses to go to the police. "Today's arrests are a surprising result that will be of future help and encouragement to business people paying 'protection money' who want to report their extortionists to police," he said."Police and magistrates need to give support to businesses and anti-Mafia associations that oppose paying protection money," De Riggi added.In July this year, 18 businessmen who became victims of the Mafia's protection racket or 'pizzo' chose to identify their suspected extortionists in court. The suspected extortionists were separated in the courtroom from their victims by a two-way mirror. The Addiopizzo (Goodbye Pizzo) anti-racket youth movement hailed the victims' court testimonies as "historic". Over 255 entrepreneurs, shopkeepers and other small business people have publicly refused to pay Mafia protection money, as well as over 9,000 consumers, according to Addiopizzo.

The Italian private employers organisation, Confindustria, last year decided to expel members found to be paying Mafia protection money.

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