Italian Rail Operator RFI Ensnared in ‘Ndrangheta Mob’s Criminal Network

On November 8, 2023, officials from the Provincial Command of the Guardia di Finanza in Milan launched a major crackdown on the ‘Ndrangheta mafia in Italy. This effort to dismantle the leading organized crime group targeted its involvement in illegal gambling, drug and human trafficking, and other criminal activities. The operation also implicated Italy’s primary rail operator, RFI.

The Guardia di Finanza, a specialized police force under the Ministry of Economy and Finance, initiated an investigation into 11 companies suspected of serving as fronts for the ‘Ndrangheta. These companies are accused of engaging in alleged tax fraud amounting to over €10 million, and the authorities have seized the money as they work to determine its legitimacy.

The companies in question were supposedly involved in supplying maintenance, vehicles, and staff to RFI stations across Italy, but officials suspect that they operated as shell companies, submitting thousands of fake invoices to aid the expansion of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia within the country.

This latest crackdown is part of an ongoing investigation stemming from a previous operation, Triton, which led to the arrest of 15 individuals in early 2022. These individuals were charged with tax fraud, bankruptcy, money laundering, and association with the mafia.

The ‘Ndrangheta mafia is known for its involvement in drug trafficking, influence over local political affairs, control of economic activities, and money laundering. Despite Italy’s efforts to dismantle it, the group has continued to thrive.

The RFI, which owns Italy’s railway network, is a defendant in the case, and the ongoing investigation is expected to uncover further criminal activity within the company.

Meanwhile, the Carabinieri authorities arrested 12 individuals in Rome and Reggio Calabria in connection to drug trafficking and dealing. These arrests were part of the same Triton investigation that previously dismantled a local faction of the ‘Ndrangheta operating in the municipalities of Anzio and Nettuno.

The investigation revealed that a ‘Ndrangheta member had expanded drug trafficking operations from Anzio and Nettuno to Rocca di Papa and Grottaferrata, driving the group’s growth in these municipalities.