Over 40 convicted in Rome “Mafia Capitale” trial

ROME - The Eternal City's “Mafia Capitale” corruption trial culminated on Thursday after a long two and a half years, with over 40 defendants being convicted of looting massive sums from the municipal government. Former cooperative king Salvatore Buzzi was sentenced to 19 years in prison and the ringleader of the bribery gang, former right-wing terrorist Massimo Carminati, was sentenced to a prison term of 20 years.

 Both key figures in the case were already being kept behind bars in Parma and Tolmezzo, under the 41-bis regime, which cuts mafia inmates off completely from their former criminal associates. Despite the trial being described as the first in Italy to bring together allegations of corruption with organised crime, all 46 defendants were acquitted on the main charge of mafia association, which came as a great disappointment to prosecutors. 

 Ippolita Naso, Carminati's defense lawyer, told reporters after the verdict the judges "certified that 'Mafia Capitale' doesn't exist.” Once the ruling was read out, Carminati turned to his lawyer and said: "You were right, I'm satisfied.” Presumably this is because he was given “just” 20 and not 28 years, as prosecutors had hoped, but also because the mafia association had not been recognised by the judges. Next on the agenda for the one-eyed right-wing terrorist is getting off the 41-bis regime.

 Although not officially recognised as a mafia group, the vast criminal network behind the corruption scandals had their very own puppets within the government and political parties. Ex-politicians convicted include Luca Gramazio, from Forza Italia, who faces 11 years, Mirko Coratti, former leader of the Democratic Party, with six years, and Andrea Tassone, ex-mayor of Ostia, with five years in prison. 

 Current Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, attended the trial on behalf of the city. "It is a very deep wound in the fabric of the city of Rome," Raggi told reporters. "What was clearly ascertained today is that there was a criminal association that was able to control the political choices of this city and we are paying for the damage, we see it every day.”

 Despite not being the result hoped for by prosecutors, the Five Star Movement politician seemed satisfied in a statement on Facebook: “Capital Mafia: entrepreneurs, politicians, corrupt civil servants, and crime characters from a past not far away. They murdered Rome [and] mortified the dignity of citizens. Today marks the victory of citizens, of civil society and of legality on crime, on crime and on old politics.”