Untold riches of the crime gangs

Journalist and author Alex Perry explains the financial power the secretive Calabrian mafia is so keen to hide

The World Today Updated 18 November 2020 Published 12 February 2018 3 minute READ

Alex Perry

Author, of ‘The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on The World’s Most Powerful Mafia’ (William Collins)

How come we know so little about the world’s most powerful mafia?

The ’Ndrangheta’s success lies primarily in its secrecy. It doesn’t flaunt its wealth. In a country full of beautiful hill towns and villages, an ’Ndrangheta town is a verruca of concrete ugliness. The towns look deprived, and the ’Ndrangheta themselves dress like orange farmers. By contrast, the Sicilian mafia, Cosa Nostra, went to war with the Italian state in the 80s and the 90s and around 1,700 people died. They are also the mafia most often portrayed in the movies. As for the Naples mafia, the Camorra, they are flashy − they are a feature on the social scene and their weddings are big events.

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