Monday, December 11, 2006

The Camorra - Working for you

I've just been watching Roberto Saviano on YouTube. It's a hour-long direct-to-camera summary of his book Gomorra about the Camorra and its business activities. He wants to correct the normal assumptions made about how the organisation (which is actually a large number of independent groups) does business.

Criminal activities per se make up just a small part of their activity. Mostly, they invest and reinvest in legitimate business. One example that struck me was that of new hotel and restaurant construction in Aberdeen (yes, Scotland). He doesn't give any names, but says that the hotels are top-class and the restaurants likewise, the menus featuring in Good Food guides. Another example is the distribution of genuine high-tech goods from the Far East through Eastern Europe into the West, which he says is controlled by the Camorra. The market in fake designer clothes has been transformed iin the last few years; now they are manufactured by the very same factories that do the genuine ones and sold in the same shops. They do not differ in the slightest from the legitimate article save for the single step of illegally applying the label. Why do the genuine brands not make a fuss? Because the Camorra control or own the means of distribution and often the retail outlets.

The big point is that, if you follow the movements of their money, only one, or maybe two of the ten or twenty steps involved are illegal, and often the only illegality present is corrupt or violent means to suppress competition. The economic and political implications of this criminal presence at the heart of the system are enormous. It spreads far out of Italy into all parts of Europe and to many parts of the world. Yet it seems there is very little political awareness and/or will to act against it.

The videos are all in Italian and there are five parts. The first is here.

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