In another huge anti-mafia operation on 29th January, 160 suspects were rounded up in Reggio Emilia, Modena and Parma but not in Bologna. According to the state Chief Prosecutor Roberto Alfonso, “So far we have no probative evidence that in Bologna there is a joint organization. Throughout the Emilia Romagna region there is a contact person for each zone, and also we wondered if there is one for Bologna.”*
Although one banking consultant was arrested in the city this is merely to do with her suspected links with the aforementioned police investigation.
Just as continual reports stream in about mafia arrests all over the country, it would at least appear that Bologna is safe from being carved up into territorial fiefdoms as in most other Italian cities.
This is great news for Bologna and even better news for those seeking to do business here. Another online report into the largest and most powerful of the Mafiosi clans states:
The ‘Ndrangheta is mainly present in Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, the USA, Colombia and Australia. (‘Italian Mafia Business in Italy’, Incorporate in Italy, 15.10.13)
The fear mongering that permeates doing business here is therefore not just confined to the Italian borders but is in fact, a global threat. Some experts explain the mafia’s ability to adapt and morph into ‘legal’ entities to launder money is changing rapidly.
“There’s no boss of bosses in Bologna.”
In an additional note about the real risks posed to foreign interests here, the same report goes on to note: “The chances that a Foreign Investor would come into contact with organized crime in Italy is highly doubtful. Though the Mafia does not interfere with the public and prefers to keep a low profile in the business sector foreign investors have to take care where they invest and when being approached for mergers and acquisitions or when seeking financing.
Surely Bologna could seize this moment and promote its sound credentials among the business communities far and wide. What’s there to lose? Approximately 10million people pass through Marconi Airport annually, and Bologna Fiere boasts one of the most advanced show centers worldwide, the region is home to leading engineering and industrial sectors globally, not forgetting the many other characteristics that place Bologna in a great position. And of course it’s the capital city of food in Italy.
Recent stats for tourist numbers here include an 18.9% increase in American tourists to 84,000 annually in 2013; extra flights being launched for more destinations, which will take it to 200 a week and an even grander vision by Ryanair to add more routes. In fact, one airport executive referred to the airline as being “the motor of our (airport’s) growth.”
As a further confidence boost Prosecutor Alfonso added in relation to the latest crime blitz: “In the reports that we have done in the past, we always talked about Bologna as an ‘open city’, where everyone could carve out their own space without affecting others. It was not a place (Bologna) where it could give rise to a conflict of interest in an legal or illegal industry, or at least we do not have any evidence.”
Even the latest crime reports suggest that there is no ‘boss of bosses’ lurking around the city. The Bolognesi are a resilient bunch. (*Source: Il Resto del Carlino, 29.1.15)