Mafia Capitale trial opens

46 defendants in Rome's mafia trial.

The first hearing in the so-called Mafia Capitale trial, the result of the biggest investigation into organised crime in Rome's modern history, opened at the criminal courts in the Prati district on Thursday 5 November.

The case involves 46 defendants, including the notorious Roman underworld figure Massimo Carminati – the alleged leader of a mafia-style syndicate accused of infiltrating city hall – who will follow proceedings via video link from a maximum security jail in Parma.

A one-time member of a neofascist terrorist group as well as the former Banda della Magliana crime gang, Carminati lost an eye in a police shoot-out three decades ago.

Also taking the stand is Carminati's sidekick Salvatore Buzzi who was caught on wire-tap in early 2013 boasting about how much money the mafia creamed off funds for emergency housing for immigrants and camps for Roma people.

The mobsters are believed to have corrupted dozens of politicians, public officials and business people in return for lucrative city contracts in sectors such as waste management, recycling and parks maintenance.

Prosecutors allege these contracts were awarded during the administration of former right-wing mayor Gianni Alemanno, who is under investigation for corruption but does not face any mafia-related charges and is not involved in this trial.

Local politicians from right and left parties Forza Italia (FI) and the Partito Democratico (PD) are also under trial. These include Luca Gramazio (Lazio branch of FI), the one-time city councillor Giordano Tredicine (FI), a member of the powerful Tredicine family which has a virtual monopoly of the mobile sandwich bars around Rome, and the former head of Rome city council Mirko Coratti (PD).

The trial is currently based at the courthouse in Piazzale Clodio but on 10 November is scheduled to relocate to the high security court at the Rebibbia prison in the eastern outskirts of Rome, which is better equipped for handling large groups of defendants.

Image: Secolo XIX