Mafia distributes food to Italy’s struggling residents, The Guardian, 10.04/2020

I was interviewed by the Guardian on the ‘criminal welfare’ some mafia groups appear to be oaring at the time of Corona virus. You can find the article here. Extracts below.

“Mafias are not just criminal organisations,’’ Federico Varese, professor of criminology at the University of Oxford, said. “They are organisations that aspire to govern territories and markets. Commentators often focus on the financial aspect of mafias but they tend to forget that their strength comes from having a local base from which to operate.”

Varese said: “These handouts by the mafias are not gifts. The mafia does not do anything out of its kind heart. They are favours that everyone will have to pay back in some form or another, by aiding and abetting a fugitive, holding a gun, dealing drugs and the like.”

Varese said: “The mafias might be able to benefit in other ways from the current lockdown and especially from the future, when Italians will all be able to return to work, spend more money, and get the economy on its feet again. But surely the story exemplified by the handouts of food parcels in Palermo and Naples shows their true nature, and it tells why they are so dangerous.”

My comments have been widely cited in other papers, from The Sun, 11.04.2020, to CNN 15.04.2020, to Diaro de Noticias, 10.04.2020.

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