The biggest mob trial in modern-day Rome opens on Thursday, with a one-eyed former neo-fascist gangster and 45 other defendants in the dock accused of operating a mafia network that plundered city coffers.
The trial is the result of the “Mafia Capital” investigation, which laid bare allegations of mobsters, bureaucrats and politicians working hand-in-fist to siphon off millions of euros from services covering everything from refugee centers to trash collection.
At the heart of the scandal sits Massimo Carminati, a one-time member of Rome’s notorious far-right Magliana Gang, and his sidekick Salvatore Buzzi, a convicted murderer.
Italian police allege Carminati and Buzzi infiltrated Rome’s city hall and got their hands on lucrative public contracts. Police have released an array of wiretaps that they say show the defendants openly discussing their various schemes.
“Do you have any idea how much you can make from immigrants? The drugs trade brings you less money,” Buzzi said in one call.
Both Buzzi and Carminati have denied the mafia charges.