Mob builders snare Uffizi, Sting

Rock idol Sting and his luxury Tuscan farmhouse

 ROME –The violent Casalesi clan of the Camorra has been linked to construction work at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery and pop star Sting’s Chiantishire villa, police say.

  The Casalesi clan who operate part of the Neapolitan criminal underworld were connected to the two construction firms (GGF and PDP) who are overseeing the Uffizi construction, whose headquarters are based in the province of Arezzo (Tuscany), according to police sources quoted by Ansa news agency.

  The two firms who allegedly shared their profits derived from tax evasion with the clan have had obtained documents which refer to them as ‘mafia free’. However Alessandra Marino, superintendent at the Uffizi explained “every time a new firm arrives we make the expected verifications and acquire the necessary documents, also anti-mafia, as expected by the law.” Six people involved in the scam were discovered by the Finance Police’s investigative group Gico and have been arrested.

  The Gico operation known as “Atlantis” consisted of a two year investigation led by the Finance Police in Florence, where they seized much of their information via wiretapping. Properties were confiscated by the Finance Police for a total of 11.3 million Euros which included 14 lands in the province of Arezzo, 17 vehicles, and 27 bank and postal reports. According to the investigations made, for every emitted invoice by the firms 4 percent would go to the Casalesi Clan. Between 2007 and 2012, the firms had evaded taxes, through fake invoices, for a total of 3,150,000 Euros.

  Faking invoices is a system that allowed the firms to remain on the market with the lowest prices, defeating the competition. This scam also enabled the firms to acquire private contracts from high profile clients - English singer Sting recently unwittingly used them to renovate his luxurious villa in the Chianti region. However police investigations concluded that private individuals such as Sting who requested the firm’s work were evidently unaware of their alleged mafia ties.

  Investigating Judge Tomasso Coletta explained that the mafia targets certain areas. “It is commonly seen that criminal associations move elsewhere in Italy to ‘happier’ regions such as Emilia Romagna, Tuscany and Lombardy.”

  “It is in these regions where they reinvest the profit gained by illicit activities in South Italy.”