Cagliari, 22 November 2021 – Voodoo rites and sorcerers, prostitution, a barrage of arrests and money, a lot of money. New investigation on the Nigerian mafia, now rooted in Italy from north to south. This time the investigation is signed by Finance of Cagliari. And it shed light on the trafficking of very young Nigerian girls who arrived in Italy as “slaves” and were kept linked to the organization also with the black magic. The operation was coordinated by District Anti-Mafia Directorate and by the Prosecutor’s Office. Against the criminal group, known as Eiye “Supreme Confraternity of Air Lords”, the allegations are also of international money laundering of illicit capital and aiding and abetting illegal immigration. The colonel’s men Vittorio Capriello, commander of the Economic and Financial Police Unit of Cagliari, they identified 50 victims and reconstructed economic movements for 12 million euros, transfers of currency through 7 hawala centers from the national territory to Nigeria. The money was hidden in packs of pasta or in trolley handles.
The anti-mafia prosecutor
Overall 122 people involved in the proceedings. The Nigerian mafia “seems to almost reshape the configuration of the ‘Ndrangheta“, Acting with local criminal groups that have a certain autonomy of action but always respond to the parent company”, explained the national anti-mafia and anti-terrorism prosecutor, Federico Cafiero De Raho. This is “an operation of great importance – he added – which made it possible to highlight the importance of currency transfers” implemented by the criminal organization, “a real money laundering system” structured and implemented through money transfers, couriers and hawala, the system for sending money outside traditional circuits that allows anonymity and non-traceability “.
Magic formulas e psychological harassment. Thus women were kept slaves, forced to recite formulas – even on the phone – that, in case of disobedience, they would have ruined not only them but also their families in Nigeria. A first investigative line started from the acquisition of information, then corroborated by the statements of a woman smuggled into Italy. The girls, faced with the promises of job opportunities in our country, were forced to take on debts each, even of 25-50 thousand euros, including the costs of the trip to Italy. Debts that the victims would have had to pay to obtain “freedom in exchange and avoid harmful consequences for themselves and their families in Nigeria”. The provision of the judicial authority made it possible to free the young victims from what was defined by the investigators as a “physical-psychological constraint” to which they were forced. Investigations by the Guardia di Finanza have brought to light a network structure divided into three criminal groups rooted, respectively, in Sardinia (in the Cagliari area), in Piedmont (in Turin), in Emilia Romagna (in the Ravenna area), but with extensive operations in other Italian and transnational areas (in Nigeria, Libya and Germany).
The rent for begging
In total, 41 girls were destined for the prostitution, while 9 those forced tobegging in urban areas where the suspects had set up “workstations” subject to their influence and managed by subjects (madame or sister / brother) dedicated to the exploitation of their compatriots. In order to exercise, the girls had to pay a rent of 150 euros per month. The money was mostly laundered with real estate investments to be carried out in Nigeria through the use of luggage carriers, top-ups on prepaid cards, through money-transfer channels. The suspects operated through 11 teams of couriers, made up of a very extensive network of collaborators chosen for reliability and efficiency, who had the task of transferring illicit funds by diversifying both the methods of concealing the money, both the couriers in charge, and the stopovers. departure to evade controls and reduce the risk of seizures and sanctions.
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