MafiaAustraliaMurderDrug


   The growth of the Australian ’ndrangheta

    Who are the 'Ndrangheta?

A mafia group from Calabria in the south of Italy. There are thought to be roughly 6,000 members in the world today.

Whilst not as well-known as the Sicilian mafia, the 'Ndrangheta is the most powerful criminal organisation in the world.

The group earned the equivalent of around 3 per cent of Italy's gross domestic product in 2014, mostly from illegal drugs.

Instead of the pyramid structure of bosses used by other mafia groups, the 'Ndrangheta recruits members on the criterion of blood relationships and marriages.

The group's best-known crime was the 1973 kidnap of the grandson of oil tycoon John Paul Getty. His ear was chopped off to garner a ransom from his grandfather.

Known as "The Honoured Society" in Australia and reportedly involved in the Victoria Market murders in 1963.

How the Calabrian mafia came to Australia in the 1920s and brought murder and a billion dollar drug trade which is now controlled by 31 families across the nation

Sixty percent of Australia's drug trade is controlled by 31 Italian families

Mafia in Australia began in 1920s with shootings among Italian immigrants

New book by a former policeman details history of the mafia in Australia

Today, 31 Calabrian mafia families in Australia report to five families in Italy

By Candace Sutton for Daily Mail Australia

PUBLISHED: 15:12, 31 January 2016 | UPDATED: 03:31, 16 March 2016
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3400577/How-31-Calabrian-mafia-families-control-60-percent-Australia-s-drug-trade.html


    The group from Calabria is now the largest after the Sicilian one and large communities concentrate
     in Western Australian cities such as Midland and Perth and in the suburbs of#
    Balcatta, Stirling and Osborne
Park (Rando, 2007).


Often compared to the famous ‘Five Families’ of New York are the ‘seven families’ of Adelaide, the clans Sergi, Barbaro, Trimboli, Romeo, Nirta, Alvaro, and Perre, whichare based in South Australia, but with branches throughout the country. The ‘sevencells’ have been repeatedly linked to the ‘ndrine in Calabria (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009; Macrı `, 2012).

 Similarly, families like Arena, Muratore, Benvenuto, and Condello.Medici, Musitano, Pochi, Pelle, Polimeni and Agresta, among others, exercise theircontrol in the rural areas (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009; DNA, 2012).

Their presence dates
back to the early 1950s. In October 1951, a severe flood hit Platı ` causing 18 deaths, ‘whenthe river Ciancio came, furious out of water, from the throat of Aspromonte, [and] tookaway two-thirds of the poor households’ (Sergi, 1994).

The village back then comprised7200 inhabitants of whom 5000 eventually chose to pack and leave (Ciconte & Macrı
 `,2009).

The escalation of the local clans and the migration to Australia of many a
liates of the ’ndrangheta, from Platı ` and nearby villages, disguised among peasants, workers,skilled craftsmen and enterprising merchants, ‘driven away by age-old poverty and natural  plagues’ (Sergi, 1989), dates back to that event (Manfredi, 1993). Calabrian migrants were in search of better living conditions legally or illegally obtained. New South Walesbecame the Promised Land.

The presence of so many immigrants coming from the areaof Platı ` even led to the founding of a town called New Platı ` (near Fairfield), west of Sydney (Veltri & Laudati, 2009).
Thanks to the flood in Calabria, the Australian ’ndrangheta experienced its economicboom (L’Europeo, 1988) and the peak of its colonisation process in the fifties. At thesame time, the Australian groups also played a big role in the growth of the clans in Calabria.

In Gri
th, for example, the ‘ndrangheta laundered the money from the kidnappings that, especially in the 1980s, have been the major activities for the clans of the triangle Platı `-San Luca-Careri (Ciconte, 2011). 

  The ‘ndrangheta – from Calabria to the world

Calabria is one of the 20 regions in Italy. It has a population of less than 2 million, divided in five provinces and 409 municipalities of which 155 are in Cosenza, 80 in Catanzaro, 97 in Reggio Calabria, 50 in Vibo Valentia, 27 in Crotone (Figure 1 and ISTAT, 2013). National statistics reveal that in 2011 the region was behind, both in terms of average productivity rate (48.8% compared with the national average of 62.2%) and in terms of unemployment rate (12.7% compared with the national average of 8.4%) (Camera di Commercio Reggio Calabria, 2012).

Unemployment and underdevelopment have been both the effect and the cause of the presence of the Calabrian mafia (Censis, 2009; Vittorio, 2009), which in its territory act as governing actor and is the main, sometimes the only, investor (Ciconte, 2013;Sciarrone, 2010; Sergi, 2014). Considered the most powerful among Italian mafias (DNA, 2012), the ‘ndrangheta controls a great portion of the cocaine tracking in Europe (Calderoni, 2012).

 Its turnover in 2008 was estimated to be more than 44 billion Euros, 2.7% of the Italian GDP (Eurispes, 2008), even though these figures have beencriticised (Calderoni, 2014). The ‘ndrangheta relies mainly on family ties and on a shared culture rooted in Calabria. 


The Italian National Anti mafia Prosecutor (DNA, 2012) confirms how it seems clear that the core of the organisation still is in Calabria, even
though the organisation is known for its delocalisation policies.

 The movements, migration and transplantation of the ‘ndrangheta beyond regional and national borders is the object of growing research interest (Calderoni, 2011, 2012; Dickie, 2013; Lavorgna &Sergi, 2014; Sciarrone & Storti, 2014; Varese, 2006, 2011). The penetration of the criminal organisation is arguably escalating and has become a worrisome phenomenon in contemporary times.

FBI Director James Comey Testimony on Fiscal Year 2017 Budget

CSPAN February 29, 2016 8:30am-10:11am EST

https://archive.org/details/CSPAN2_20160229_133000_FBI_Director_James_Comey_Testimony_on_Fiscal_Year_2017_Budget/start/0/end/60

Al Jazeera America May 7, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT

International news with in-depth analysis.

TOPIC FREQUENCY U.s. 16, Afghanistan 11, U.n. 9, David Cameron 8, America 6, Us6, Syria 6, Israel 5, Pentagon 4, Russia 4, Britain 4, John Kerry 3, Dana Lewis 3,Miliband 3, Libby Casey 3, Europe 3, Iran 3, Yemen 3, Riyadh 3, Taliban 2
Network Al Jazeera America
Duration 01:01:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel v107
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 720
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

https://archive.org/details/ALJAZAM_20150508_010000_News?q=u.n.



NSW Liberals launch fund-raising body to replace discredited Millennium Forum

Sean Nicholls

JULY 26 2014

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-liberals-launch-fundraising-body-to-replace-discredited-millennium-forum-20140725-zwppv.html

Less than a fortnight before resumption of a corruption inquiry examining its election funding activities, the NSW Liberals have launched a new forum to raise political donations.

The Federal Forum was registered as a business name with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission on Wednesday. 

   
    On indefinite leave: Paul Nicolaou.

It is understood the new body will replace the discredited Millennium Forum, which gained notoriety during recent public hearings at the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

In public hearings in May, ICAC heard that senior Liberal Party officials used the Millennium Forum and another Liberal-linked entity, the Free Enterprise Foundation, to funnel prohibited donations, including from property developers, into the 2011 NSW election campaign.

It is alleged donations prohibited under NSW law were instead made to the Free Enterprise Foundation, a federal body. The Free Enterprise Foundation would then donate to the NSW Liberals' state campaign.

ICAC was told Millennium Forum executive chairman Paul Nicolaou had worked with the acting state director of the Liberal Party, Simon McInnes, and had explained the system to him.

The commission was told a ‘‘substantial part’’ of $700,000 donated to the NSW Liberals by the Free Enterprise Foundation before the 2011 election was from illegal donors.

As a result of the allegations, Mr Nicolaou resigned and remains on indefinite personal leave from his role as chief executive of the NSW branch of the Australian Hotels Association.

The Millennium Forum has been the NSW Liberal Party's chief fund-raising body for federal election campaigns. But it is believed the party felt that after its name was tarnished at ICAC, potential donors would be reluctant to attend events held under its banner.

The Federal Forum will be administered by the honorary treasurer of the NSW Liberal Party, former federal MP Peter McGauran, who is the chief executive of the Australian Racing Board.

Like the Millennium Forum, the business name is registered to a private company owned by the NSW Liberal Party, Bunori Pty Ltd, of which Mr McInnes remains a director.

ICAC's inquiry into Liberal Party fund-raising, codenamed Operation Spicer, resumes in the first week of August after adjourning to investigate new evidence.

It is investigating allegations slush funds were used to funnel illegal political donations to candidates, including those on the central coast aligned with former energy minister Chris Hartcher and former police minister Mike Gallacher.


Mafia 'linked to senior Australian politicians'

29 June 2015

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-33306842

   

Politicians from both the Labor and Liberal parties were reportedly lobbied by mafia-linked donor

Australian politicians have been infiltrated by the Calabrian mafia, according to an investigation by Fairfax Media-ABC Four Corners.

It says politicians at both state and federal level are exposed to "potential corruption" with "loopholes" in the political donation system.

The year-long investigation quoted confidential police reports.

The Calabrian Mafia, known as 'Ndrangheta, runs a drugs and extortion business worth billions of euros.

It is is one of the world's most powerful criminal groups, extending its influence and networks from Italy across the world.

According to Australia's national broadcaster ABC, the group operates in Australia using threats and violence in both legitimate businesses, such as fruit and vegetables, and illegitimate businesses, such as drugs.

'Mafia-linked donors'

The joint investigation by ABC's Four Corners programme and Fairfax Media found a number of contacts between "known and suspected criminals" belonging to the group and senior politicians.

The report says a man with "deep mafia associations" met the then-Prime Minister, John Howard, and other top party officials at a fundraising event for the Liberal Party in the early 2000s. However, it says there was no suggestion that Mr Howard knew of the man's alleged criminal links.

It also said that both Labor and Liberal politicians had been lobbied by mafia-linked donors on issues of interest to their legitimate and non-legitimate businesses.

According to the 2013 police report, 'Ndrangheta had used a number of well-known party donors to put a "legitimate public face" on its activities.

One lobbying campaign, the investigation reported, was aimed at obtaining a visa for a mafia boss who was later jailed for drug trafficking and implicated in a murder plot.

Meanwhile, the investigation discovered that the son of "another alleged mafia boss" did a work experience placement at the Australian embassy in Rome, which was described in one police report as "a major lapse".

The 'Ndrangheta, which emerged in the mid-1970s, operates mostly across Europe and has links with the Colombian drug cartels.

Cocaine is thought to be its biggest source of revenue, along with extortion and money laundering.


The most powerful mafia you've never heard of

Italy's 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate is believed haul
 in more revenue than many Fortune 500 companies.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/02/150224083921277.html

   
  An alleged member of the 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate is escorted by Italian Carabinieri police officers [AP]

   by Alberto Mucci

     ITALY   

   

Italian anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, his wife, Francesca Morvillo, and three bodyguards were killed in a bomb explosion on Palermo's motorway near Capaci, Sicily in 1992

Milan, Italy - The 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate - based in Italy's southern Calabria region - is not nearly as well-known as Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian mafia. But the 'Ndrangheta organisation is wealthier and more powerful - with interests spanning the globe from Calabria to Colombia, and as far away as Australia.

According to Demoskopika, an Italian think-tank, the 'Ndrangheta's activities made a whopping $60bn in revenue in 2013 - more than the combined revenues of McDonald's and Deutsche Bank.

That's roughly three percent of Italy's GDP.

·。。They have successfully exploited the Calabrian immigrants that headed to Germany, the US, Australia, Belgium, Colombia, and France after World War II. They used family ties to create new links and expand    their influence worldwide.。。·Antonio Nicaso, analyst

  The 'Ndrangheta is estimated to control about 80 percent of Europe's cocaine traffic, and is believed to have invested in construction projects in Italy, Belgium, the United States, and Germany.

  "The 'Ndrangheta is the perfect example of a globalised criminal network," said Antonio Nicaso, an expert on the group.

     "They have successfully exploited the Calabrian immigrants that headed to Germany, the US, Australia, Belgium, Colombia, and France after World War II.
    They used family ties to create new links and expand their influence worldwide."

     'Ndrangheta  in involve in many things from kidnapping to cocaine

The 'Ndrangheta's operations began in the 1960s and '70s, focusing on kidnappings for ransom.

"This allowed the criminal organisation to accumulate an initial capital that at the end of the '80s was invested in cocaine," explained Ilaria Meli, a researcher at the Observatory of Organised Crime at the Universita' Statale of Milan.

"This decision represents a first turning point for the 'Ndrangheta, as it proved to be quicker than Cosa Nostra in understanding and exploiting a crucial shift of the drug market."

This strategy brought billions of dollars to the 'Ndrangheta's coffers. 

"Today, their problem is that they have more cash than they can possible use," said Giuseppe Catozzella, an investigative reporter and the author of several books on the criminal syndicate.

In Alveare, Catozzella's book about the 'Ndrangheta published last year, one wiretap recorded a conversation between two mobsters. One of them was digging out a stash of money buried in a forest, and notified the other that "millions are rotten because of the humidity".

The other mobster replied nonchalantly: "Just throw them away."

The 'Ndrangheta's ascension was aided by a strategic mistake made by the Sicilian mafia.

At the end of the 1980s, Cosa Nostra embarked on an "anti-state" policy, culminating in the spectacular killings of top anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992.

The government reacted by deploying the army to Sicily and passing a new law that allowed imprisoned criminals linked to the mafia to be placed in solitary confinement.

"Those years were a lethal blow to Cosa Nostra's interest outside of Sicily," said Meli, "and they have started to reorganise themselves only over the past few years, as shown by a recent report from the DIA [Italy's anti-organised-crime unit]".

While the Italian authorities and media attention were focused on the Sicilians, the Calabrians were able to slowly but steadily expand into Italy's wealthy north.

Catozzela explained that in 1994, leaders of four major Italian mafias met at Lake Como to carve up the northern market.

"'Ndrangheta obtained 70 percent of it, a result that shows the power and influence it had achieved in just over two decades."

     'Ndrangheta Exploiting opportunities

From Milan, in Italy's north, the rest of Europe is just a few hundred kilometres away. In the 2000s, the 'Ndrangheta was again able to take advantage of circumstances.

After the September 11 attacks, the Italian government diverted resources to the fight against "terrorism", allowing the Calabrian criminal organisation to operate with greater impunity.

Later in the decade, the economic crisis that hit much of southern Europe gave the Calabrian mob the opportunity to invest its illegal profits.

With thousands of cash-strapped businesses across southern Europe looking for liquidity, the 'Ndrangheta's only problem was deciding where to invest.

The Calabrian mafia appears to be based on Ndrine, with local groups that form the building blocks of the organisation.

All the Ndrine operating in any given geographical area - from Calabria to Australia - are believed to be organised in what are called Locali, which coordinate and mediate between the various Ndrine under their aegis.

The 391147, in turn, operate under the control of a higher representative body known as Il Crimine or La Provincia, which is based in Calabria and makes the organisation's top decisions.

The members of the La Provincia meet once a year, at the end of August, in Polsi, a small mountain town, where they celebrate the Madonna of Polsi and make important decisions for the coming year.

Every Ndrina, Locale and family operating outside of Calabria is thought to be linked to a similar unit back home. For example, investigations have shown that the Locale of Sterling, in western Australia, operated under orders coming from a Locale in Calabria.

Despite this vertical structure, the Locali enjoy a high degree of autonomy when it comes to conducting business.

But the structure of the 'Ndrangheta's hierarchy is not negotiable. 

When Carmelo Novella, the head of the Lombardy 'Ndrangheta, tried to operate independently, he was killed in 2008 by one of the heads of the 'Ndrangheta in Calabria.

     'Ndrangheta Is  Not just an Italian problem

In the past, the 'Ndrangheta has benefited from being able to operate under the radar of Italian and European authorities. As recently as 2010, the then-mayor of Milan, Letizia Moratti, denied that organised crime groups operated in the city, even though it had been present in the region for about 30 years.

"In the north of Italy, organised crime is represented as a southern [phenomenon]; in the north of Europe, as an Italian problem," Meli summarises. 

It was only in 2007, when a shoot-out in Duisburg, Germany was linked to the 'Ndrangheta, that German and then European authorities began to investigate the presence of the Calabrian syndicate outside of Italy.

The differences between European legal systems in dealing with mafia groups present one of the main difficulties in fighting groups like the 'Ndrangheta.

In 1994, Italy criminalised having relations with mafia organisations, but similar laws do not exist in some other European countries.

If, for example, the Italian police asked their counterparts in a neighbouring country to arrest a suspected mafioso, the police there may not be legally able to comply.

"There seems to be little will to accept that the 'Ndrangheta is a European problem," Meli said.

The 'Ndrangheta may no longer be able to avoid the attention of the authorities. But if its expansion beyond Italy is to be halted, experts agree that authorities throughout Europe need to cooperate more closely with one another. 

"The 'Ndrangheta has become global, [but] the instruments to fight it have remained national," Nicaso concluded. "This is a problem that needs to be fixed - and quickly."


Lawyers to apply for injunction stopping Four Corners program on Italian Mafia

25 Jun 2015

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-26/lawyers-apply-injunction-stopping-four-corners-italian-mafia/6574172

Lawyers for a Melbourne businessman are expected to apply for an injunction stopping the ABC from broadcasting a Four Corners investigation into the Italian Mafia.

Part one of the joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation is scheduled to air on Monday night.

The program investigates the family and business connections between the Italian Mafia and their Australian associates and how the Mafia has infiltrated Australian politics at the highest levels.

On Thursday afternoon, lawyers for a Melbourne businessman informed the ABC they had been instructed to make an urgent application to the Supreme Court of Victoria regarding Monday night's planned program.

It is expected his lawyers will seek a hearing on Monday to attempt to stop the program from airing that night.

Topics: courts-and-trials, abc, melbourne-3000, vic, australia


The Mafia in Australia: Blood Ties

By Nick McKenzie, Clay Hichens and Klaus Toft

July 7, 2015 

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2015/07/06/4266149.htm

The Mafia in Australia Part Two: Blood Ties

The Mafia in Australia Part Two: Blood Ties -
 inside one of the most ambitious organised crime investigations in Australian history.


It's one of the most ambitious organised crime investigations in Australian history. An epic surveillance operation which uncovered 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy, worth half a billion dollars - the world's largest ecstasy bust.

But the drugs themselves were just the beginning...

The drug syndicate inadvertently led the police right to the heart of the Calabrian mafia in Australia.

In the second part of this Four Corners/Fairfax Mediainvestigation we take you inside the police operation, with access to the investigators, their surveillance footage and telephone intercepts.

But as the program reveals, there's no doubt the mafia is back in business.

"These groups are very difficult to defeat. They regroup, they rebound, they reorganise." Police Investigator

The mafia has a unique resource to draw on: its network of families.

"The links are tight and they are based on the one thing... blood ties." Mafia Expert

"You will have the baton passed essentially from father to son, from father to nephew, and they will continue to use those very strong family links take over essentially the family business." Police Investigator

Reporter Nick McKenzie reveals the next crop of crime figures running operations in Australia and their continuing attempts to infiltrate political parties on both sides of the divide.

"Organised crime figures will try and cultivate people of all walks of life, but particularly people with influence." Police Investigator

You can also see Part One: Drugs, Murder and Politics on the Four Corners website and ABC iview.

The Mafia in Australia Part Two: "Blood Ties", reported by Nick McKenzie and presented by Kerry O'Brien, goes to air on Monday 6th of July at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 7th at 10.00am and Wednesday 8th July at midnight. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

Monday 29 June 2015

The Mafia in Australia Part 2: Blood Ties

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Tonight on Four Corners: the inside story of the world's biggest ecstasy bust and how the mafia rebuilt its roots in Australia.

CLIVE SMALL, FMR ASST. COMMISSIONER, NSW POLICE: Here we are, some 30 to 40 years later: the same families involved in major drugs, still, ah, from that time.

MATT WARREN, DET. SUPT., AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE: You will have, ah, the baton passed essentially from father to son, from father to nephew; and they will continue to use those very strong family links, ah, and will take over, essentially, the family business.

ANNA SERGI, DR., UNI. OF WEST LONDON: The links are there. The links are tight and they are based on the one thing that keeps all the 'ndrangheta clans together, which is blood ties.

KERRY O'BRIEN: The Calabrian mafia's tentacles have a long, deep reach within Australia. You'll see tonight how one of those tentacles was cut off after an extensive cloak-and-dagger sting operation against the mafia's most powerful Australian drug lord.

For the first time we can now recount in gripping detail just how the police busted the network.

You'll hear the villains condemn themselves with their own words.

We also detail how reporter Nick McKenzie found himself at the centre of an extraordinary attempt by second-generation mafia boss Pat Barbaro to flush out the police operation: an action that finally put him and many associates behind bars.

But with a massive bankroll at its disposal, the 'ndrangheta or "honoured society" has simply regrouped - and today it's business as usual, with yet another generation of leaders and an ongoing web of influence through Australia's public institutions, including our parliaments.

In the second strand of our Four Corners and Fairfax Media joint investigation, Nick McKenzie identifies two of those alleged leaders and throws further light on 'ndrangheta political clout.

NICK MCKENZIE, REPORTER: In the darkness of an August night in 2008, heavily armed Federal Police launched a series of sweeping raids across the country.

The raids were the climax to one of the most ambitious organised crime investigations in Australian history.

They targeted one of the world's most secretive and powerful international mafia organisations: the Calabrian 'ndrangheta or "honoured society".

CLIVE SMALL, FMR ASST. COMMISSIONER, NSW POLICE: The Calabrian mafia in Australia is the longest-running crime organisation that we've ever had. It's been continuously operating, ah, for nearly 93 years now and looks as though it's going to go for another 100.

MATT WARREN, DET. SUPT., AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE: There's no question that the, ah, the Calabrian mafia -or the 'ndrangheta as they're also known -are a global, ah, enterprise and certainly what we saw during this investigation, ah, was exactly that: that this was a - they had a global reach.

NICK MCKENZIE: The story of this enormous Australian police operation started in June 2007: the discovery on Melbourne's wharves beyond all expectations.

ANDREA PAVLEKA, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, COMMONWEALTH DPP: At the time of the seizure, it was the largest seizure of ecstasy in the world and, ah, some 15 million tablets were actually seized by the police.

MATT WARREN: We're talking about 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy: an enormous value of drugs. We're talking about $500 million, um, worth of, ah, worth of ecstasy.

NICK MCKENZIE: The drugs had been carefully hidden inside a consignment of canned tomatoes imported from Italy.

Federal Police secretly seized the drugs and then put the container back on the wharf, hoping to arrest whoever showed up to collect it.

As the shipping container sat unclaimed on the dock, the suspected drug plotters gathered at this Melbourne hotel. They didn't know their hotel room had been bugged by the Federal Police.

As police listened in via a hidden microphone in their sixth-floor room, it soon became clear the suspects feared a trap.

SUSPECT 1 (AFP surveillance audio): If there's cameras there and if it's flagged, it'd be f****n' 24/7 under surveillance. There'd be nothing we could do.

SUSPECT 2 (AFP surveillance audio): Oh, mate, you'd have 20 million f****n' coppers just f****n' watching that one, f****n' waiting for someone to pick it up.

NICK MCKENZIE: As days became weeks with no-one arriving to claim the shipment, lead investigator Detective Superintendent Matt Warren, feared something had gone wrong.

MATT WARREN: Your emotions are up and down. You know, you've got that constant expectation that someone will, will come and, and that you'll get a result. And when that's looking less and less likely, without question i-it's a, it's disheartening.

NICK MCKENZIE: Police soon realised why no-one had come to collect the container.

Due to a clerical mix-up, the drug importers never got the phone call to confirm their shipment had arrived. They had no idea if their container had been lost, stolen or seized.

MATT WARREN: The number, we would allege, on the paperwork was a false phone that would go to the criminal syndicate. And they would redirect the container to, ah, a warehouse under their control. Well, of course, that didn't occur for them; they never received the call.

So you had quite a strange situation with a container purporting to be full of drugs sitting in a freight forwarder's yard and no-one going anywhere near it.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: I think in the short term, it looked like a setback to the investigators because, obviously, at the start of this investigation they were just probably hoping for a quick result where the criminals will come and pick up the container and they'd move in and arrest them.

So initially it looked like a setback and that meant the investigation had to run, ah, quite a lot longer.

MATT WARREN: In fact, it was a turning point and it allowed us to go from, ah, arresting some of the lower-level suspects to move up the chain and-and take out some of the, um, the, probably the highest-profile organised crime figures in Australia.

NICK MCKENZIE: The men police had under surveillance were suspected members of Australia's most notorious mafia cells.

The man at the centre of the group was a New South Wales mafia boss called Pasquale "Pat" Barbaro. Barbaro appeared to be the man calling the shots.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: He was issuing directives to people in terms of what was to happen within the business. He was very hands-on. Um, I think he w- he was, ah, in the detail of this business. He certainly wasn't a hands-off manager. I think the evidence very much revealed him, ah, to be, ah, very busy, very active, um, hard-working.

MATT WARREN: What we saw was a man who was driven. He was, ah, energetic. He would drive, ah, the, their operations. He was very much a leader.

NICK MCKENZIE: As the suspects discussed what had gone wrong with their shipment, their hotel room conversations were being monitored on a police listening bug.

It recorded members of the group discussing whether to storm the Port of Melbourne to find their missing drugs.

SUSPECT 3 (AFP surveillance audio): I don't know what control they have over the f****n' docks there. I'd run a team in there and f****n' fully arm them up and just say, "Listen, this is how it is." Get a crane driver on site and f****n' hitch her up, roost it on the back of a still-hot semi. I mean, there'll be no harm down there. No-one's armed.

MATT WARREN: For the criminals: they were madly scrambling to try and locate the container, because at that point they- it had gone missing. Ah, and certainly it became very clear to them, ah, although they weren't able to confirm that, that it- the container had been intercepted.

NICK MCKENZIE: The listening bug also revealed associates of Pat Barbaro describing his growing fears that either police - or another criminal syndicate - had seized his drugs.

SUSPECT 4 (AFP surveillance audio): Pat's f***ed ... devastated ... he's f****n' shocked. What he's got to realise now: he's got to realise that it's pinched.

MATT WARREN: Our view was that if we continued to investigate them, they would need to talk about the fact that they had not received these pills that they had lost. They're talking about a huge financial blow, um, to a syndicate.

Um, there would be a lot of people who would be owed a lot of money. There would be a lot of people who would have had an expectation of receiving a lot of money out of this.

Um, so therefore people need to talk, they need to discuss. And that was where we were hoping that we would start to gather some evidence, ah, of what had occurred.

NICK MCKENZIE: Police believed if they followed Pat Barbaro, he could lead them into the heart of the secret operations of the Calabrian mafia.

The investigation soon headed to Barbaro's home town of Griffith in NSW, the historical epicentre of the 'ndrangheta in Australia.

MATT WARREN: Certainly in the early stages of his life he was convicted over a cultivation of, ah, of marijuana plants. And, and that's, um, you know, fairly common in the, in the Griffith area. We've seen historically the Calabrian mafia involved in, in marijuana crop growing, um, in that sort of, ah, NSW area, that Griffith, ah, general area.

NICK MCKENZIE: In the 1950s thousands of Italian migrants came to Australia to seek new lives. Many honest families from the mountain villages of Calabria were drawn to the rich farmland around Griffith in the NSW Riverina district.

In the decades that followed, a small number of Calabrian migrants began amassing unexplained wealth.

CLIVE SMALL: They lived a life that was quite separate to the traditional Griffith resident in that they were building big homes. They... ah, if it was a dry period, that didn't seem to worry them: they still had the money. They didn't do it tough like many of the farmers and others in Griffith were doing it. And it caused a lot of concern and I can understand why.

NICK MCKENZIE: In the 1970s Donald Mackay, a local furniture shop owner and political candidate, began campaigning for police action against local farmers suspected of secretly growing marijuana.

After police busted a huge local marijuana crop, Mackay suddenly became a marked man.

In 1977 he disappeared after leaving a local pub.

CLIVE SMALL: When these crops were seized, he was blamed for it. That's what caused his murder. He had cost the Calabrian mafia too much money. It was time to stop. "If we can get rid of Donald McKay, we can get back to growing the crops." That was the simple logic of it.

(Footage of Clive Small and Nick McKenzie at the site of Donald McKay's murder)

And he appears to have been shot as he was attempting to unlock the car.

NICK MCKENZIE: Former NSW assistant police commissioner Clive Small spent years investigating the Calabrian mafia.

CLIVE SMALL: There was some blood found on the ground here, near the car. There were three spent shells, suggesting he'd been shot three times. And the keys to the car were on the ground. So that was the last that was, um, seen of him leaving the hotel. Never been found to this day.

NICK MCKENZIE: Griffith's Calabrian mafia cell also had a powerful avenue of political influence through the local Federal MP, Al Grassby.

When Grassby visited Calabria as immigration minister in 1974, he was treated to a hero's welcome.

CLIVE SMALL: Well, I am aware: while he was the immigration minister there were a number of people who got visas and were able to stay in Australia who were of highly questionable character. And I think any reasonable look at them would raise questions about: why was that done if it wasn't done for corrupt purposes?

I don't think there's any question that Al Grassby was significantly corrupt. His attempts after the Mackay, Donald Mackay murder to move the blame away from the real killers and make suggestions that, ah, Donald Mackay's wife and others were involved in the murder was disgraceful. And I don't think any man with any sort of decency could justify that.

NICK MCKENZIE: Responding to the public outcry over Mackay's disappearance, the NSW Government set up a royal commission, headed by Justice Woodward, to investigate drug trafficking networks.

Clive Small was one of the commission's investigators.

(Archive footage of investigators, Woodward Commission)

INVESTIGATOR (archive): What's the lighting here?

NICK MCKENZIE: Clive Small was one of the commission's investigators.

(Footage ends)

CLIVE SMALL: The Woodward Royal Commission was extremely important in two ways: it really opened up the story about the Mackay murder; and in doing that it also opened up the story about the Calabrian mafia in Australia.

NICK MCKENZIE: Among the men investigated was a local farmer, Frank Barbaro, nicknamed "Little Trees" for the new orchards he'd planted.

(Footage of Clive Small and Nick McKenzie visiting an orchard)

CLIVE SMALL: Well, Frank "Little Trees" Barbaro was at the core of what you'd call the Calabrian mafia group in Griffith. He was one of the first to be growing substantial crops and he was one of the first, ah, Woodward found, to have significant f- additional and unexplained flows of money coming in.

NICK MCKENZIE: This money from the marijuana?

CLIVE SMALL: Money coming from the marijuana crops.

NICK MCKENZIE: OK.

(Footage ends)

NICK MCKENZIE: Frank "Little Trees" Barbaro had a son he named Pasquale, but who everyone else called Pat.

Pat Barbaro learned the family trade.

CLIVE SMALL: Pat Barbaro is clearly one of those people that we hear about being "classic mafia". That is: he's, he's born into the family, which is already a significant part of the Calabrian mafia or a family clan. So he's been born into the Calabrian mafia; into one of the head families.

MATT WARREN: Certainly, um, what we see with this is, ah, is what we've seen historically with the 'ndrangheta: that you will have, ah, the baton passed essentially from father to son, from father to nephew; and that the, that they will continue to use those very strong family links, ah, and will take over, essentially, the family business.

NICK MCKENZIE: Pat Barbaro took over his father's business, expanding it from cannabis crops to drug importation.

CLIVE SMALL: Here is Justice Woodward in the 1970s: warned the federal and state governments and the law enforcement about this threat involving these people. And here we are, some 30 to 40 years later: the same families involved in major drugs, still, ah, from that time. And if you look at, ah, Pasquale Barbaro's history into it, he'd been involved in drugs almost all of his life.

NICK MCKENZIE: Clive Small says that the Woodward Royal Commission's recommendations to launch a long-term anti-mafia campaign were ignored.

Soon the mafia faded from public view.

CLIVE SMALL: Well we've had for 16 years a denial that there is such a mafia in Australia - and I think that's part of the problem. If we had admitted that we had a problem with the Calabrian mafia, the public would be screaming for us to do something about it.

If we say it doesn't exist, then we don't have to do anything because there's nothing to respond to. And I think that's the problem. We've - it's been hidden from the public because it's too big a political problem.

NICK MCKENZIE: According to a secret 2003 National Crime Authority report obtained by Four Corners, police had for several years been confidentially warning that Pat Barbaro was part of a powerful Australian-Calabrian mafia network.

This network had "infiltrated members into, or recruited people from, public organisations, government and law enforcement."

One of Barbaro's criminal associates had even allegedly "paid off judges, costing approximately $2.2 million."

Barbaro himself was "suspected [of] using the profits obtained from cannabis cultivation to finance the importation of drugs from overseas."

MATT WARREN: Certainly by late 2006, early 2007 we were well aware, ah, of his, of, ah, his prominence and that he was extraordinarily active, um, in international crime.

CLIVE SMALL: If you have a look at his history: he's been involved in crops in NSW, in Queensland - that's cannabis. But then he seems to have moved into other drugs: ah, be it amphetamines, ecstasy and the like.

NICK MCKENZIE: By early 2007, police were investigating Pat Barbaro over several drug importations.

The biggest of them was the world-record ecstasy shipment that arrived in Melbourne from Italy in June 2007 - and which Barbaro had been unable to locate.

MATT WARREN: This was a continuation of a number of investigations that were occurring. The AFP were investigating, ah, and had investigated, um, Pat Barbaro over a number of years. Um, he was, ah, alleged to have been involved in a number of drug importations and we saw him as a major, ah, organised crime figure at the time.

NICK MCKENZIE: After secretly seizing the drugs, police then shifted the focus of their investigation to Italy, the source of the shipment.

Four Corners travelled to Calabria in Italy's deep south, the traditional home of the 'ndrangheta.

ANNA SERGI, DR., UNI. OF WEST LONDON: The 'ndrangheta in Calabria and the 'ndrangheta in Australia are tight: really right. Even if they migrated 50 years ago they still are very connected, even in a nostalgic way, to the motherland which is Calabria. So the - the links are there. The links are tight and they are based on the one thing that keeps all the 'ndrangheta clans together, which is blood ties.

(Footage of Anna Sergi and Nick McKenzie driving into traffic tunnel, southern Italy)

ANNA SERGI: The most common thing that can happen is that someone refuses...

NICK MCKENZIE: Dr Anna Sergi is a Calabrian mafia expert who has studied the group's links to Australia.

(Footage ends)

ANNA SERGI: The Barbaro family is one of the oldest mafia families in Calabria. The Barbaro surname is a guarantee for: if you want to access certain drug routes, if you want to be involved in certain cross, trans-national business.

NICK MCKENZIE: In July 2007, one month after the massive drug shipment had disappeared in Melbourne, Pat Barbaro flew to Calabria.

When he arrived in the capital, Italian surveillance operatives working with the AFP were waiting and watching. They tailed Barbaro as he met several known Calabrian mafia figures linked to the ecstasy shipment.

The police who trailed Barbaro work with anti-mafia prosecutor Roberto Di Palma.

ROBERTO DI PALMA, ANTI-MAFIA PROSECUTOR (translation): The fact that Pasquale Barbaro came here and met representatives of important families demonstrates that the Barbaro family is a family of primary importance in the criminal spectrum.

But it shows something else as well: and that is the need to maintain face-to-face contact. Technology can be helpful in keeping connections in this global village and it can also be used toward illicit ends. Nevertheless, there are certain subjects, either strategic or general, that must be discussed in person.

NICK MCKENZIE: Italian police identified another Australian allegedly working with Barbaro in Calabria: Adelaide construction industry figure Paul Alvaro.

Italian police files allege that Paul Alvaro was assisting Pat Barbaro with his drug trafficking enterprise, a claim Alvaro strongly denies.

NICOLA GRATTERI, ANTI-MAFIA PROSECUTOR (translation): The Alvaro family is one of the most important 'ndrangheta families. Not only the Alvaro but also the Barbaro family. It has a strong presence in Australia.

The 'ndrangheta have a strong presence in Australia: not only in marijuana cultivation, but also cocaine traffic and employment in the public sector.

NICK MCKENZIE: In Calabria, Barbaro's explanation to his mafia bosses about why their drug shipment was missing did not go down well.

MATT WARREN: Barbaro flew to Europe to meet with the syndicate heads. And by this stage we'd established that there was an enormous debt that was owed and, and that he would have to pay the bill or, you know, he, he would be, ah, probably held accountable.

And, and within that ah that type of, ah, group - the 'ndrangheta, the Calabrian organised crime - we would expect that he potentially would suffer the ultimate consequences.

NICK MCKENZIE: You mean he would be killed?

MATT WARREN: Yeah, that th-there could potentially be a contract taken out on him.

NICK MCKENZIE: On Barbaro's return to Melbourne, police continued to watch and record his every move. He was getting increasingly desperate.

(Footage from AFP surveillance video)

In this surveillance video, police believe Barbaro was threatening a criminal he suspected of stealing his drugs from the docks.

MATT WARREN: Certainly there's some friction. And as pressure starts to mount, as disappointment starts to mount, we can certainly see fractions within the group a-and certainly some bickering. A-and you know, this is brought about by the enormous pressure that they're under for this to be successful.

NICK MCKENZIE: Barbaro and his fellow criminals suspected they were being watched and began to engage in elaborate counter-surveillance measures.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: Their conversations over the phone or via text message were often cryptic and coded. They would often speak in public areas: for example, parks. Also this particular group of criminals, ah, changed their SIM cards over regularly, so that if they thought their phones were being bugged, they would basically just, ah, get rid of that phone and move onto another phone.

NICK MCKENZIE: Barbaro was determined to find out what had happened to his massive drug shipment. So he made a risky move and reached out to a journalist.

In September 2007, I received a phone call from a blocked number. The man on the other end asked me if I wanted to report on the world's biggest drug shipment.

I didn't know it then, but that man was Pat Barbaro. And he wanted me to confirm that the drugs has been seized by police and then to report this, so it could be read by his bosses back in Calabria.

Using a mobile phone registered in a false name, Pat Barbaro sent a series of text messages to spur me into action. The texts were detailed, describing among other things the number of pills in the ecstasy drug shipment.

Sensing something sinister was afoot, I reported nothing; so a desperate Barbaro sent more and more information.

Neither he nor I realised this would later prove crucial to the police case.

MATT WARREN: Looking at the historical metadata of, um, the, the phones that had been purchased, we were able actually to put those mobile phones in Barbaro's hand. And those phones sent text messages that were tantamount to a confession.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: The SMS messages with you showed that Barbaro had critical knowledge of the contents of that container. He knew exactly what was in the container and he was able to convey that to you in those SMS text messages, so that was a, a terrific link, ah, for the prosecution to have, ah, in this particular matter.

NICK MCKENZIE: In early 2008, Barbaro began to organise new drug deals to raise the cash to pay off the debt from his botched importation.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: Certainly within months, ah, the Barbaro syndicate were back in business. They had access to 1.2 million ecstasy tablets which seemed to originate from Sydney. And, ah, really, the sale of that 1.2 million ecstasy tablets was then used to pay down the debt to the European suppliers for that, um, missed importation.

So very quickly, ah, they had regrouped and obviously their business model was such that they were able to sustain a massive hit to their bottom line.

NICK MCKENZIE: As police kept watching, Barbaro began leading them to other mafia bosses.

These surveillance photos show Barbaro meeting his drug-dealing partner, notorious Melbourne gangster Frank Madafferi.

Police suspected Madafferi had invested in the massive ecstasy importation.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: Madafferi was a buyer of ecstasy tablets from Barbaro. Barbaro had a number of people who really, I suppose, were wholesalers and distributors of his ecstasy tablets. And, um, Madafferi was one of those persons.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 2008, police observed Pat Barbaro and his associates meeting up with greengrocer Frank Madafferi near his suburban fruit shop.

(Audio excerpt from telephone call, AFP surveillance audio)

FRANK MADAFFERI (AFP surveillance audio): What now? What now?

PAT BARBARO (AFP surveillance audio; translation): I'm out front.

FRANK MADAFFERI (AFP surveillance audio; translation): Bloody hell.

PAT BARBARO (AFP surveillance audio; translation): Yeah, no worries. Bye. Bye.

(Excerpt ends)

NICK MCKENZIE: Barbaro handed Madafferi boxes which police suspected contained drugs.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: Ultimately, ah, we were able to prove that Madafferi trafficked in around 57,000 ecstasy pills, ah, for Barbaro, ah, valued at between, I think, about $1.2 million and $2.2 million.

NICK MCKENZIE: Like Barbaro, Frank Madafferi's roots were back in Calabria, where he'd racked up a serious criminal record before sneaking into Australia on a tourist visa in 1989.

Last week, Four Corners revealed how Frank Madafferi used an extraordinary network of political donors, including his brother Tony Madafferi, to lobby politicians to overturn a deportation order.

Frank Madafferi was allowed to stay in Australia, despite Victoria Police warning he was a dangerous mafia figure.

MATT WARREN: Clearly, he served an apprenticeship - and a fairly violent one - in Italy, before he came to Australia. I think he's a si- he's a significant figure. Ah, he-he's been, ah, involved for a very long time.

NICK MCKENZIE: By 2008, Frank Madafferi was busy trafficking drugs supplied by Pat Barbaro. He was also issuing threats to other drug dealers who owed him money.

(Audio excerpt from telephone call, AFP surveillance audio)

FRANK MADAFFERI (AFP surveillance audio; translation): Tell him to go back and bring me the money and not to break my f****n' balls! I'm going to f****n' get him and eat him alive!

PAT BARBARO (AFP surveillance audio; translation): What did he do?

FRANK MADAFFERI (AFP surveillance audio; translation): He went sneakingly to see where those boys take the stuff. He gave the things cheaper. Tell him I want the profit! It's not f****n' his! Or I'm going to bite his throat!

(Excerpt ends)

NICK MCKENZIE: The mafia syndicate used this apartment in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton as a safe house to run their drug operation.

MATT WARREN: Certainly, once we identified that, um, that Barbaro was going to rent an apartment or a townhouse in-in Carlton, we were really excited about that because finally, ah, we-we really saw ourselves getting ahead of the game. We could actually, ah, be a part of the conversation, so we could listen in and we could hear what they were planning.

NICK MCKENZIE: Federal police agents waited until Pat Barbaro had left the apartment before sneaking inside, planting several audio bugs and cameras.

The AFP began watching and listening as Barbaro, speaking in code, discussed massive drug deals involving Frank Madafferi and other mafia figures.

(Excerpt of AFP surveillance video, recorded Jun. 25 2008)

PAT BARBARO: Let's say he's got 100 grams of dust: divide it by 0.3 equals 100 grams: yeah, it's 333 pills. So we have to collect a shit load of money, you know?

What does Sandwich owe?

FEMALE VOICE (off-screen): A hundred and thirty-three, 200.

PAT BARBARO: What's Bill owe?

FEMALE VOICE (off-screen): Two fifty-five.

PAT BARBARO: What's the fruit man?

FEMALE VOICE (off-screen): Seventy-two and a half.

(Excerpt ends)

ANDREA PAVLEKA: The bug picked up Barbaro reviewing his books of account. He kept quite comprehensive, ah, books of account which related to the drug trafficking business and that would list customers and the amount of pills that had been sold to them and the amount of money that was owed to him. So both the camera and the listening device in that unit provided very compelling evidence.

NICK MCKENZIE: In August 2008, after months of surveillance work, the Federal Police had finally gathered enough evidence to step out of the shadows and move against the mafia bosses.

In the pre-dawn darkness, heavily armed police massed at assembly points in Griffith, NSW, Melbourne and Adelaide - knowing some of their targets were unpredictable, armed and dangerous.

At the Carlton safe house, police found these handguns buried in the garden.

Inside Pat Barbaro's Griffith mansion police found guns, drugs and cash - along with a 'Scarface' poster.

(Footage of press conference, August 2008)

MICK KEELTY, AFP COMMISSIONER (Aug. 2008): This is part of a global international syndicate. Ah, this is a major disruption to trans-national organised crime both in this country and abroad. For the AFP: in our 30-year history, this is the largest operation we've ever undertaken.

(Footage ends)

(Excerpt of AFP video of Frank Madafferi being questioned)

POLICE OFFICER: To the allegation that you, Francesco Madafferi, trafficked a substance - the substance being MDMA - and that the quantity trafficked was commercial quantity: do you understand that?

FRANK MADAFFERI: (Laughs)

(Video cuts to later. An interpreter repeats the question in Calabrese)

INTERPRETER (translation): Do you understand that allegation?

FRANK MADAFFERI: Si.

INTERPRETER: Yes, I understand.

POLICE OFFICER: What can you tell me about that allegation?

(Frank responds in Calabrese before interpreter can finish question)

INTERPRETER: I don't know anything about this bullshit.

NICK MCKENZIE (voiceover): When he was formally interviewed by police after his arrest, Frank Madafferi denied any involvement with Pat Barbaro's drug syndicate.

POLICE OFFICER: I'm trying to establish whether you owe Pasquale Barbaro $32,000 dollars.

INTERPRETER: No.

POLICE OFFICER: No, you don't?

INTERPRETER (translation): Have you ever purchased drugs from Pasquale Barbaro?

FRANK MADAFFERI: No.

INTERPRETER: No.

(Excerpt ends)

NICK MCKENZIE: Frank Madafferi chose to fight his drug charges. Late last year he was convicted and received a seven-year prison sentence.

Overwhelmed by the evidence against him, Pat Barbaro pleaded guilty and was jailed for 30 years over his role in the massive ecstasy shipment.

At final count, 32 mafia figures and their criminal associates were convicted for drug dealing and money laundering.

ANDREA PAVLEKA: There was an importation of 100 kilos of cocaine worth $40 million. There was a conspiracy to import 100 kilos of pseudoephedrine. There was trafficking in a further 1.2 million ecstasy pills and a very sophisticated money laundering operation as well, where they turned over about $10 million.

NICK MCKENZIE: Detective Superintendent Matt Warren and his Federal Police team may have smashed the syndicate behind the massive 2007 drug shipment.

But the Calabrian mafia's secretive network remains in place within Australia, able to rebuild its operations quickly.

MATT WARREN: I think that's the key to these groups: they are able to, ah regroup, rebound after, ah, suffering in this case, um, a loss that would, that would, ah, end most organised crime syndicates. And they've had this in the past: where they've suffered defeats at the hands of law enforcement, ah, but through those family connections they're able to rebuild.

NICK MCKENZIE: Political influence is a key factor in the mafia's resilience. For decades, the mafia has been building support on both sides of politics.

MATT WARREN: Well, certainly we've seen, ah, over the years that organised crime figures will try and cultivate, ah, people of all walks of life, but particularly people with influence.

We certainly see organised crime figures, ah, cultivating, ah, sporting, ah, stars. Ah, it's no different, ah, with political figures. They're looking to, um, to try and gain influence and gain power and use that towards, ah, potentially diverting attention away from themselves.

NICK MCKENZIE: Even after he was arrested, Frank Madafferi cultivated political contacts.

Victorian Labor Party delegate Michael Teti has previously worked in the state ALP head office, as well as for Federal MP Kelvin Thomson.

These days, Teti is an ALP councillor at Moreland City Council in Melbourne.

MICHAEL TETI, COUNCILLOR, MORELAND CITY COUNCIL: They misused our money under your watch.

NICK MCKENZIE: Four Corners has established that Teti spent months doing Frank Madafferi's banking and running his fruit business at the same time Madafferi was facing drug charges.

While there is no suggestion Teti was involved in drug trafficking, he allegedly supplied a gun to one of Frank Madafferi's mafia henchmen.

Teti was later found guilty of carrying a loaded gun in a public place and placed on a good behaviour bond.

Four Corners can also reveal that another Frank Madafferi associate worked in the office of then Labor senator Mehmet Tillem. This Madafferi associate is currently facing criminal charges over a violent bashing.

He got his job in the Labor senator's office with the help of Michael Teti. There is no suggestion that Mehmet Tillem knew that either Michael Teti or the man he employed were associates of Frank Madafferi.

(To Matt Warren) I'll cut straight to the chase. Does any political figure have any business working or associating with someone like Francesco Madafferi?

MATT WARREN: I would suggest that, ah, you would need to be very careful in dealings with Francesco Madafferi.

NICK MCKENZIE: As Four Corners revealed last week, Frank Madafferi's brother Tony also has powerful political connections, despite his criminal associations.

In 2008, Federal Police agents observed Tony Madafferi meeting Pat Barbaro and other drug traffickers on several occasions, including this gathering in the middle of a park.

Tony Madafferi has never been charged with any crime and denies any wrongdoing.

(To Matt Warren) What did the AFP allege to the court about the relationship between Pasquale Barbaro and Tony Madafferi?

MATT WARREN: Well, I think the, ah, the allegation that we, we put in court and the court documents would show that they were quite close, for sure: that there was a, a strong association between them.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 2013, Tony Madafferi hosted a Liberal Party fundraiser at this Docklands reception centre, part-owned by his drug trafficking brother Frank.

The guest speaker was State Liberal senior minister Matthew Guy, who is now the Victorian Opposition Leader.

Matthew Guy was unaware he was at an event hosted by an accused mafia figure.

But other Liberal figures in the room, including Federal MP Russell Broadbent, knew of Madafferi's alleged mafia connections.

CLIVE SMALL: I can't believe our politicians are so dopey that, having known the allegations, that they continued to accept money from a fundraiser. I find that so extremely difficult to understand: how they could do it or how they could be so naïve.

NICK MCKENZIE: Victoria's Police Commissioner has made his own assessment of Tony Madafferi, recently banning him from Melbourne's Crown Casino over his alleged mafia connections.

(To Matt Warren) What was your reaction when the Victorian Chief Police Commissioner banned Tony Madafferi from Crown Casino?

MATT WARREN: I wasn't surprised by that.

NICK MCKENZIE: Why not?

MATT WARREN: Well, I think once again, um, we see him as, ah, potentially someone who associates and has close associations with, ah, established organised crime figures, and they're not really the people, um, that the Chief Commissioner wanted in the casino environment.

NICK MCKENZIE: The mafia has allegedly infiltrated every layer of government.

Tony Vallelonga is the former mayor of Stirling in Perth. In 2011, the news broke that Italian anti-mafia prosecutors wanted to question Vallelonga over his alleged dealings in Calabria with a notorious mafia boss.

Vallelonga faced the media with his family and lawyer to vehemently deny the allegations.

TONY VALLELONGA (ABC News, March 2011): It's hurt me very much. It is very distressing - I'm 64 - to get this sort of, I want to call, "campaign: against me: that's what it is.

JOHN HAMMOND, LAWYER (ABC News, March 2011): The worst that can be said, assuming it was admitted - and it's not - is that Mr Vallelonga has spoken or had contact with Italian mafia figures. Now, firstly, that's denied. We don't know which figures they are talking about.

NICK MCKENZIE: Four Corners has learned that Italian prosecutors recently made far more detailed allegations in court about Tony Vallelonga. They allege he is an Australian mafia boss with the "role of leader within his locale" or mafia cell in Perth.

Prosecutors allege that, as part of this role, Vallelonga is responsible for "making the most important decisions", for "imparting orders or imposing sanctions on other subordinate associates."

In a statement sent to Four Corners, Tony Vallelonga's lawyer said any allegation the former mayor has ever been involved in criminal activity is "completely without any foundation."

The Calabrian mafia remains the dominant force in global drug trafficking.

Just three weeks ago, Italian and Spanish police teamed up with the US Drug Enforcement Agency to launch a series of dramatic raids from the air, sea and land. Police seized tonnes of cocaine and arrested dozens of Calabrian mafia figures.

Despite this success, the Italian prosecutor who oversaw the operation says the 'ndrangheta's global networks are as strong as ever.

NICOLA GRATTERI (translation): It is a very serious blow but today we have blocked only one organisation. There are so many other organisations at this level, like this kind of target, operating as we speak.

NICK MCKENZIE: Some of the suspects arrested in Calabria were members of the Italian Alvaro mafia clan. Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri says the Alvaros have a powerful cell operating in Australia.

NICOLA GRATTERI (translation): The Alvaro family is one of the most important 'ndrangheta families which has existed in the criminal world since the end of the 1800s. The 'ndrangheta has a strong presence in Australia and the fight against it is inadequate, given these families are growing even stronger.

NICK MCKENZIE: One of the alleged Alvaro clan bosses in Australia is Paul Alvaro.

Paul Alvaro was the man police suspected of helping Pat Barbaro import drugs into Australia back in 2007.

Italian police files allege Paul Alvaro has, like Pat Barbaro, risen to become a top 'ndrangheta figure, allegedly involved in international drug trafficking.

But this was never proven and Alvaro strongly denies any involvement in mafia activity. His only criminal conviction dates back to 1990, when he was jailed for tax offences.

REPORTER (ABC TV News, June 1990): The prosecution alleged the Alvaros lived grand lifestyles on the lowest of declared incomes and that they were involved in trafficking of marijuana.

NICK MCKENZIE: In Calabria, where people have long endured a political system deeply infiltrated by the mafia, prosecutor Roberto Di Palma has a warning for Australian authorities.

ROBERTO DI PALMA (translation): The biggest danger is to play at the 'ndrangheta's own game. That is: to allow the 'ndrangheta to expand, to take over more territory and to infiltrate the public sector, especially within the fabric of the executive managing level of the state.

And then at that point it becomes much more difficult to intervene because political decisions, at times, could, could - I'm speaking in theoretical terms - could be used as an instrument for the plans of the 'ndrangheta itself.

NICK MCKENZIE: Anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri says that, with police worldwide now focussed on terrorism, Australia cannot afford to be complacent about the hidden tentacles of the Calabrian mafia.

NICOLA GRATTERI (translation): I think Australia should look at the mafia problem, the 'ndrangheta problem again and not measure the presence or the strength of 'ndrangheta or any mafia by the number of people killed on the street or shootings at shop windows.

To understand who supplies cocaine to bars, discos and pubs; where the cocaine comes from and who controls it. Because whoever controls the cocaine: with those earnings they buy all the property for sale. In that way they control the market, they control the economy.

NICK MCKENZIE: The warnings from Italy resonate strongly with the man who led Australia's biggest mafia bust.

MATT WARREN: What we've seen is that these groups are very difficult to defeat. They regroup. They rebound. They reorganise. They have the international connections, ah, which I think is a crucial part of the, of the, the way they'll continue to operate.

There's no question that Italian organised crime - Calabrian organised crime in this case - will continue. They will reorganise and they'll continue to conduct unlawful activity - drug importations, white-collar crime - because it's their business.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Late on Friday we were advised by the Victorian branch of the Labor Party that it has moved to expel Michael Teti from the party.

Labor MP Kelvin Thompson has told us Teti only worked in his office for one month; that he had no idea of Teti's mafia connections and supports his expulsion.

Teti declined to be interviewed for the program but through his lawyers has denied any wrongdoing and said his relationship with Frank Madafferi was professional.

Next week on Four Corners: 10 years after the suicide bombings that rocked London, survivors and their rescuers recount that dramatic day and its aftermath.

Until then, good night.

END

NEWS UPDATES

Amanda Vanstone defends actions as immigration minister in case of crime figure Frank Madafferi | ABC News | 7 Jul 2015 -www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-07/vanstone-defends-actions-in-visa-case-of-crime-figure/6600326

Australian Mafia: the more it changes, the more it stays the same | The Age | 7 Jul 2015 -www.theage.com.au/national/australian-mafia-the-more-it-changes-the-more-it-stays-the-same-20150706-gi4l2n.html

RELATED NEWS COVERAGE

Madafferi's son facing theft and weapons charges | The Age | 6 Jul 2015 - www.theage.com.au/national/madafferis-son-facing-theft-and-weapons-charges-20150706-gi64wj.html

How one call from Pat Barbaro plunged journalist Nick McKenzie into Australian mafia investigation | ABC News | 6 Jul 2015 -www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-06/nick-mckenzie-speaks-out-about-his-brush-with-the-mafia/6596098

Australian figures linked to Calabrian Mafia revealed; experts warn more police focus needed on organised crime | ABC News | 6 Jul 2015 - www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-06/calabrian-mafia-continues-flourish-despite-police-operations/6596192

Terror diverts focus as Mafia 'board of directors' thrives by Nick McKenzie | The Age | 6 Jul 2015 -www.theage.com.au/national/terror-diverts-focus-as-mafia-board-of-directors-thrives-20150705-gi4h7z

The mafia, metadata and me: the day Stan called me into an ecstasy sting | The Age | 6 Jul 2015 -www.theage.com.au/national/investigations/the-mafia-metadata-and-me-the-day-stan-called-me-into-an-ecstasy-sting-20150705-gi4q6y.html

Labor expels figure linked with Mafia intimidation | The Age | 6 Jul 2015 - www.theage.com.au/national/investigations/labor-expels-figure-linked-with-mafia-intimidation-20150705-gi4i6h.html

Ex-mayor runs Mafia cell, answers to Italy | The Age | 6 Jul 2015 - www.theage.com.au/national/investigations/exmayor-runs-mafia-cell-answers-to-italy-20150705-gi4jzp.html

Moreland councillor Michael Teti dismisses Calabrian mafia link | Herald Sun | 5 Jul 2015 -www.heraldsun.com.au/news/moreland-councillor-michael-teti-dismisses-calabrian-mafia-link/story-fni0fiyv-1227429472051

Labor man Michael Teti's Mafia links | The Age | 1 Sep 2014 - www.theage.com.au/victoria/labor-man-michael-tetis-mafia-links-20140901-10am74.html

Police in Crown Casino ban on 'mobster' Antonio Madafferi | The Age | 11 Dec 2014 - www.theage.com.au/victoria/police-in-crown-casino-ban-on-mobster-antonio-madafferi-20141210-124heh.html

New witness: I saw the murder of Donald Mackay I Newcastle Herald | 26 Aug 2014 -www.theherald.com.au/story/2514427/new-witness-i-saw-the-murder-of-donald-mackay-i-photos-video/?cs=4173

Police chase new leads in Griffith murder of Donald Mackay at the hands of the Calabrian mafia | Herald Sun | 17 Jun 2014 -www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/police-chase-new-leads-in-griffith-murder-of-donald-mackay-at-the-hands-of-the-calabrian-mafia/story-fni0ffnk-1226957674751

ALP figure with alleged mafia links in court on firearm charges | The Age | 29 Sep 2014 - www.theage.com.au/victoria/alp-figure-with-alleged-mafia-links-in-court-on-firearm-charges-20140929-10ngp4.html

RESEARCH AND BACKGROUND

OPINION: Donations and democracy: how money is compromising our political system | ABC The Drum | 3 Jul 2015 - Joe Hockey's defamation case and the investigation into Mafia in Australia drive home how seriously the political process could be manipulated by money. Yet no one is taking much notice, writes Mike Steketee. www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-03/steketee-how-money-is-compromising-our-political-system/6589556

STUDY: Family Influence: Italian mafia crime group in Australia | Aug 2012 - Calabrian-based crime organisation the 'Ndrangheta has extended its inuence into Australia. Download this report by mafia expert Dr Anna Sergi.www.academia.edu/1810710/Family_Influence_Italian_mafia_crime_group_in_Australia

Ghosts of Griffith | The Australian Weekend Review | Jul 1997 - With the National Crime Authority under siege and the Wood Royal Commission exposing corruption in the New South Wales (NSW) police force, it seems we have not come a long way since the murder of anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay. Crime writer Bob Bottom revisits Griffith, 1977, and invokes the spirit of Mackay. www.gwb.com.au/gwb/news/onenation/press/ghosts.html

The Australian 'Ndrangheta Research Group | UCL - There is very good evidence that the 'ndrangheta has had a substantial presence in Australia since at least the 1930s. Yet for a variety of reasons, law enforcement, public opinion and academia in Australia have frequently seemed reluctant to discuss this criminal organisation. www.ucl.ac.uk/australian-ndrangheta/

Organised crime | ACCC - The Australian Crime Commission conservatively estimates serious and organised crime costs the Australian economy $15 billion each year. Find out about the organised crime groups operating in Australia and the types of crime they are involved in. www.crimecommission.gov.au/organised-crime

WATCH RELATED FOUR CORNERS

The Mafia in Australia Part One: Drugs, Murder and Politics | 29 Jun 2015 - Watch part one of Nick McKenzie's investigation into the Italian mafia in Australia.

Tags: drugs-and-substance-abuse, government-and-politics, laws, police, murder-and-manslaughter, drug-offences, crime-prevention, police-sieges, australia, italy

First posted July 6, 2015


Key Liberal fundraising body took Mafia money for access

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard, Sean Nicholls

JUNE 30 2015

http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/key-liberal-fundraising-body-took-mafia-money-for-access-20150628-gi07yb

                     
                     
Frank Madafferi. 


    

  Tony Madafferi. 

   
   Nick Scali.

   
 Victorian Russell Broadbent says he will continue to attend party room meetings

 if Speaker: "I have a responsibility to my electorate." Photo: Andrew MearesNick Scali.

         Mafia in Australia - Drugs, Murder and Politics

     The mafia continues to flourish in Australia despite major police operations, as this joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation reveals.

        Mafia figures donated tens of thousands of dollars to the discredited NSW Liberal Party fundraising vehicle, the Millennium Forum, as part of
       an ultimately successful campaign to allow a known criminal to stay in Australia.

        A senior Millennium Forum figure, who is already under investigation by ICAC for allegedly funnelling illegal developer donations to the NSW Liberal Party,
       also helped criminal Frank Madafferi's lawyer meet then immigration minister Philip Ruddock on the visa issue.

      A year-long Fairfax Media and Four Corners investigation has obtained confidential documents that outline the Millennium Forum's role as the receiver
       of the Mafia money, raising more questions about the integrity of the nation's political donations regime.

        Documents also reveal that Victorian Liberal MP Russell Broadbent hosted alleged Mafia boss Tony Madafferi, Frank's brother, 
      for lunch in the parliamentary dining room and in his Parliament House office. Mr Broadbent also introduced Tony Madafferi and his associates to
      senior Liberal MPs including Environment Minister Greg Hunt.

     Mr Broadbent, who has repeatedly refused to answer questions, helped organise, or attended, several fundraisers involving the alleged Mafia figure.

      It can also be revealed that Sydney furniture king Nick Scali, a prominent Liberal donor and Madafferi associate who was also involved in the Mafia visa scandal,
      was investigated by police in Italy over allegations that he bribed an Italian-Australian politician in Rome.

   ICAC counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson SC and former Millennium Forum and federal Liberal Party treasurer Michael Yabsley have now both
   called for Australia's political donation system to be overhauled.

    Mr Watson, who led last year's ICAC public hearings into the forum's dealings with property developers, said the new revelations showed
    the entire fundraising system was "seriously" compromised.

       And Mr Yabsley, who once chaired the Millennium Forum but who is not the figure involved in the Madafferi lobbying,
     said donations should be capped and all entities banned from making them.

   "The system is wide open to the kind of abuse by criminals and their representatives," Mr Yabsley said.

   "The more common problem is where donors actually have an expectation of some kind of policy or other outcome in view of their donation." 

    The former head of the Millennium Forum, Paul Nicolaou, confirmed on Monday that, "The NSW Liberal Party and the Victorian Liberal Party
   received 50 per cent [each] of the proceeds from that fundraiser". 

    "I don't know who was at the function and who the people were. There were several hundred people at the event."

     On Monday, Fairfax Media and Four Corners revealed confidential police assessments warning that alleged Mafia figures had infiltrated federal
    and local politics via the donations system.

   One of the police assessments dealt with a political lobbying and donations campaign run by the Madafferi brothers,
   aimed at overturning Frank Madafferi's deportation, which was ordered in 2000 by Mr Ruddock.

      Mr Ruddock's successor as minister, Amanda Vanstone, granted Mr Madafferi a visa in November 2005, despite his lengthy criminal record and police warnings
      he posed a risk to the community. Less than two years later, he was implicated in the world's biggest ecstasy shipment and in 2008 he was arrested,
       and later jailed, for drug trafficking.

     As part of the visa campaign, prominent Liberal donor and occasional Labor Party supporter Mr Scali arranged a meeting in October 2001 between
    Tony Madafferi and a prominent Liberal Party figure involved in the Millennium Forum.

     The Millennium Forum figure then facilitated a meeting between Frank and Tony Madafferi's personal lawyer and Mr Ruddock.
     The meeting gave the Madafferi family direct access to the immigration minister to discuss the deportation order.

     Liberal Party sources said Mr Ruddock was furious when he realised the Madafferis' lawyer had been granted a meeting with him.
    The meeting between Mr Ruddock and the lawyer was cut short and Mr Ruddock refused to budge on the deportation.
     In September 2004, with the visa campaign in full swing, the Millennium Forum in NSW received $51,000 in declared donations from
    Tony Madafferi and his associates in connection to a political fundraiser he organised in Melbourne.
     Thousands more in undeclared funds were collected via raffle tickets and other techniques during the fundraiser.

    This event was attended by new immigration minister Ms Vanstone and three Liberal MPs who had, after approaches from Madafferi linked donors,
     raised the visa case with Ms Vanstone.

     Mr Watson said the Madafferi visa campaign showed how "for no better reason than the making of donations to a political party,
    specific representations were able to put to amongst the most powerful politicians in the land."

    Ms Vanstone has said her decision to give Frank Madafferi a visa was based on humanitarian grounds linked to the impact of deportation on his family. 

    But Mr Ruddock told Four Corners that he stood by his deportation order and that "the Australian public expect" the politicians would
    not "give preference" to criminals seeking visas.

     "In this matter… there is a serious criminal record. The view that I formed was that on the basis of the criminal record, he should be deported."   

     Mr Yabsley's comments about the need to overhaul the donation system are especially impactful as he once headed the Liberal Party's fundraising arm.

    "The whole spectre of political donations casts a shadow over our relatively clean and accountable democratic system," said Mr Yabsley. 

     "It wouldn't be the first time someone has seen the light from working on the inside and set about to fix something that has caused them great
      and increasing concern the more they saw of it."

      The release of the ICAC report into the Millennium Forum and other Liberal fundraising vehicles has been deferred due to legal challenges. 
    Tony Madafferi denies any wrongdoing and has not been convicted of any criminal offence.



Western Australian man gaoled for drug possession in detention centre

https://www.cdpp.gov.au/news/wa-man-gaoled-drug-possession-detention-centre

WA man gaoled for drug possession in detention centre

Date of Publication: 

8 APRIL 2016

Iranian national, 39-year-old Mahomooh Rajabizadeh was today sentenced to a total effective sentence of 9 years and 6 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 7 years for possessing a marketable quantity of illicit drugs—heroin and methamphetamine. Rajabizadeh was found guilty to three drug-related offences after a five-day trial between 5 – 9 October 2015.

At the time of the offences, Rajabizadeh was being held at the Yongah Hills Immigration Detention Centre, situated at Northam, Western Australia.

A parcel addressed to Rajabizadeh was received at the centre and processed by contractors working at the site. The parcel was subject to x-ray screening and an anomaly was detected in one of the items. In accordance parcel inspection instructions when anomalies are detected, the parcel must be opened by the recipient in the presence of contractors where further examination can take place.

The next day Rajabizadeh  attended the Property Processing area to collect his parcel. He was asked to open the parcel and he complied—the contractor then removed the contents of the parcel. The package contained, among other items, 5 packets of cigarettes. The contractor noticed that one of the cigarette packets appeared heavier than the others. Upon further examination on all items, a brown powder substance in a clear clip seal bag was found beneath the cigarette filters, as well as a clear crystalline substance in another packet.

The Australian Federal Police were then called and seized the consignment. In total police found 52.3 grams of heroin and 193.8 grams of methamphetamine. Police also searched Rajabizadeh’s room and locker and located drug paraphernalia consisting of silver foil paper, a lighter, a metal straw tube and a syringe. All these items are consistent with illicit drug use.

Rajabizadeh acknowledged  that he was expecting a parcel from his brother, though denied the parcel was his, nor the illicit drugs.

CDPP Deputy Director, David Adsett said, ‘Possessing illicit drugs is a serious crime. Agencies are increasingly intercepting this postal method of distribution and ‘drug parcel recipients’ can expect lengthy terms of imprisonment.’

The amount of pure methamphetamine he attempted to possess was 151.7 grams.

CDPP Media Contact: communications@cdpp.gov.au or 02 6206 5708

Charges:

Mahomooh Rajabizadeh was found guilty, following a trial by jury of:

  • One count of attempt to possess a marketable quantity of border controlled drug, Methamphetamine, reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully imported, contrary to sections 307.9(1) and 11.1(1) Criminal Code (Cth)
  • One count of attempt to possess a marketable quantity of border controlled drug, Heroin, reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully imported, contrary to sections 307.9(1) and 11.1(1) Criminal Code (Cth)
  • One count of to possess a controlled drug, Methamphetamine, contrary to subsection 308.1(1) Criminal Code (Cth).

The maximum penalty for an offence against section 307.9(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth) is imprisonment for 25 years or 5,000 penalty units ($850,000) or both.


 Region of Calabria, South of Italy (GoogleMaps).
The pointer ‘A’ indicates the position of Plati’, within the area of Reggio Calabria where migration has been more influential and where the‘ndrangheta is believed to be most powerfu
l.

Calabrian mafia groups settled in Canada in the early years of the 20th century. Inthose years, Giuseppe ‘‘Joe’’ Musolino, cousin of the famous Calabrian bandit with thesame name (Ciconte, 2011), was active in Toronto at the head of a gang of Mafiosi fromthe Aspromonte (mountains in the Centre-South of Calabria) devoted to extortion andracketeering (Schneider, 2009). The more Calabrian communities integrated in the coun-try, the more criminal bonds stretched. Between Toronto and Montreal, the ‘ndranghetahad an autonomous and overwhelming development (Edwards & Auger, 2012). Some mafia bosses are part of the history of crime and their clans are an example of the establishment of the organisational model of the Calabrian ‘ndrine (clans) in lands of emigration. Particularly notorious was clan of Rocco Zito, considered one of the first patriarchs of the Canadian ‘ndrangheta (Edwards & Auger, 2012; Nicaso & Lamothe,2005). Also notorious was Rocco Perri, a poor immigrant who had left Platı ` (a smalltown in the province of Reggio Calabria and in the heart of the Aspromonte mountains, see Figure 1) at the age of 16. He became the most well-known smuggler in Canada (and had among its clients Al Capone and Joseph Kennedy, father of the future president of the United States) (Edwards & Auger, 2012; Nicaso, 2005). He accumulated afortuneand died without an heir (Sergi, 2004). Vic Crotoni originally from Mammola, andPaolo Violi, originally from Sinopoli, are both remembered as the heads of theCanadian ‘ndrangheta, in the 1960s and 1970s, respectively (O’Connor, 2011).



Domenicantonio Cosimo "Tony" Vallelonga JP

Domenicantonio Cosimo "Tony" Vallelonga JP is an Australian property developer and former mayor. He was mayor of the City of Stirling in Perth, Western Australia between 1997 and 2005. Wikipedia

BornCalabria, Italy

 

alleged Australian Calabrian Mafia figures.. are allegedly headed by Adelaide construction figure Paul Alvaro, 64,

Australian figures linked to Calabrian Mafia revealed; experts warn ...

www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-06/calabrian-mafia-continues-flourish.../6596192

Jul 5, 2015 - Photo: The Calabrian Mafia continues to flourish in Australia despite ... Related Story: Italian mafia group linked to senior politicians, ... local to federal government, and alleged Australian Calabrian Mafia figures. ... They are allegedly headed by Adelaide construction figure Paul Alvaro, 64, and a New South ...

 

http://www.smh.com.au/national/perth-man-linked-with-mafia-boss-20110309-1bo10.html

Perth man linked with Mafia boss

Dylan Welch

MARCH 10 2011

THE undercover role of the Italian Mafia in Australia is in the spotlight again, following accusations that a West Australian property developer and former suburban mayor was criminally involved with one of Italy's biggest godfathers.

Domenicantonio Cosimo (''Tony'') Vallelonga, a former suburban Perth mayor and owner of at least nine registered businesses, including a large property development firm, was yesterday accused by Italian police of involvement with the Calabrian Mafia, known as the 'Ndrangheta.

The accusations relate to Mr Vallelonga's relationship with 'Ndrangheta boss, Giuseppe Commisso.

Commisso was, until his arrest last year in an Italian police sting, the head of one of the Calabrian Mafia's most powerful clans, based in the Calabrian town of Siderno.

Over the past two days Italian police launched action against more than 40 people, primarily in Italy but also in Germany, Canada and Australia, as a result of monitored phone conversations made by Commisso before his arrest.

Yesterday Mr Vallelonga, who was born in Calabria, denied that he was associated in any way with the 'Ndrangheta, but did accept that he had spoken to Commisso during a trip to Italy two years ago.

''I would have spoken to him personally or in restaurants or in cafes,'' he told The West Australian.

But he denied the allegations of criminality. ''I have not been arrested … I am involved with respectable people, not idiots,'' he told the paper.

But the Calabrian chief of police, Renato Cortese, confirmed they were seeking Mr Vallelonga over his alleged links to Mr Commisso.

The Perth man was allegedly caught discussing his council election with the mob boss, as well as his dissatisfaction with an Australian gangster.

Mr Vallelonga, who came to Australia in 1963, was mayor of Stirling in Perth's north from 1997 to 2005, and has served on the board of the WA Ethnic Community Council.

The federal police would not comment on his case yesterday, but did confirm that they had ''received a request for assistance from Italian authorities which was being progressed at a government-to-government level''.

A former New South Wales assistant police commissioner who specialised in organised crime investigations, Clive Small, said yesterday's news was further proof that the mafia problem in Australia was larger than the government and police would admit.

He noted there were clear mafia targets in Australia, men who were involved in corrupt relations with politicians, money laundering and drugs.

Vallelonga 'in a much worse position than Charles Zentai'

Aja Styles

http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/vallelonga-in-a-much-worse-position-than-charles-zentai-20110311-1bqm7.html

MARCH 10 2011

The lawyer for a former Stirling mayor accused of being linked to the Italian mafia has called on the Commonwealth to reveal any extradition order being brought against his client by Italian authorities.

It is understood Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor has yet to receive an extradition request from Italian police, who are seeking to question Tony Vallelonga over taped conversations he had with a notorious Italian godfather, but says any extradition will be "a long process".

Lawyer John Hammond and his client Tony Vallelonga, who is accused of being a Mafia gangster.Lawyer John Hammond and his client Tony Vallelonga, who is accused of being a Mafia gangster. Photo: Aja Styles

Tony Vallelonga yesterday broke down in tears as his lawyer, John Hammond, acknowledged Italian authorities had issued an arrest warrant against his client for his alleged connection to 'Ndrangheta boss, Giuseppe Commisso.

Commisso was, until his arrest last year in an Italian police sting, the head of one of the Calabrian Mafia's most powerful clans, based in the Calabrian town of Siderno.

RELATED CONTENT

Vallelonga's mafia godfather 'link' the cause of an arrest warrant

Former Perth mayor caught up in international Mafia crackdown

Over the past three days Italian police launched action against more than 40 people, primarily in Italy but also in Germany, Canada and Australia, as a result of monitored phone conversations made by Commisso before his arrest.

The longstanding local councillor and owner of at least nine registered businesses, including a large property development firm, had allegedly been caught on tape speaking to the crime boss during a visit to Italy in 2009.

warrant but had been informed his client, Domenicantonio Cosimo ''Tony'' Vallelonga, was wanted for questioning after finally getting through to Italian authorities.

The Australian government has so far revealed nothing about the extradition orders or produced the arrest warrant, but has acknowledged that a "request" from the Italian government had been received and nothing would happen until Mr Vallelonga was formally arrested and brought before an Australian court.

Tony Vallelonga broke down in tears while speaking of the emotional toll on him and his family.
Tony Vallelonga broke down in tears while speaking of the emotional toll on him and his family. Photo: Channel Ten

A spokeswoman for Mr O'Connor would not confirm or deny if a request had been made but said any extradition request would be taken seriously and there was a long process in which such matters were considered.

Mr Hammond today said there had been a "breathtaking arrogance" displayed by Italian police and the Australian Government in not providing his client details of his arrest but allowed it to play out in the media.

"The Attorney General's office needs to state formally that it has been approached by the Italian police and an extradition order sought, if such an order has been sought, instead of leaving him living with the speculation day after day," he said.

Another Perth resident, Charles Zentai, has been fighting an extradition request from Hungary for alleged Nazi war crimes for the past six years.

I have not been arrested … I am involved with respectable people, not idiots.

"At least he was told why he was being extradited, we don't even know if my client is being extradited or what the charges are," Mr Hammond said.

"My client is in a much worse position than Charles Zentai."

Mr Hammond yesterday said his client would cooperate with Italian investigators, but any move to extradite him to Italy for questioning would be fought.

Mr Vallelonga today refused to speak however yesterday broke down in tears as he told reporters he was taking medication to cope with the stress, but reiterated his innocence.

"I will be fighting very hard because I am a man who fights hard for his community," he said.

"...It is very distressing. I am 64, this is what I call a campaign against me, that is what it is.

''I'm sorry I'm so emotional but I'm going through a very hard time."

He said he didn't understand why he was being targeted, saying he had only made two trips to Italy in 48 years.

"In 1988 I took my kids (to see) my heritage... 2009 I went back with my wife and many people have all respected me."

His son Sal and wife Mary were with him to show support. Mr Vallelonga jnr said his father had renounced his Italian citizenship to become and Australian.

"He is proud to be Australia," he said.

Mrs Vallelonga said she was angry and frustrated over the reports of the arrest warrant and alleged mafia links.

''I have to be strong for my husband because he's done nothing wrong,'' she said.

Mr Hammond said Mr Vallelonga had spoken to many people when he visited Italy in 2009 and he would not know if anyone was a member of the mafia, whatever that was defined as being.

''Mr Vallelonga has done absolutely nothing wrong.

''He is a man of propriety who has served his community unfailingly.''

Calabrian chief of police, Renato Cortese, confirmed this week that they were seeking Mr Vallelonga over his alleged links to Mr Commisso.

The Perth man was allegedly caught discussing his council election with the mob boss, as well as his dissatisfaction with an Australian gangster.

Mr Vallelonga, who came to Australia in 1963, was mayor of Stirling in Perth's north from 1997 to 2005, and has served on the board of the WA Ethnic Community Council.

The Australian Federal Police would not comment on his case but said a request had been made by Italian authorities which was being handled at a government to government level".

Vallelonga's mafia godfather 'link' the cause of an arrest warrant

Aja Styles and Dylan Welch

 MARCH 10 2011

http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/vallelongas-mafia-godfather-link-the-cause-of-an-arrest-warrant-20110309-1bokb.html

The former mayor of Stirling Tony Vallelonga has broken down in tears as his lawyer acknowledged an arrest warrant had been issued against his client for his connection to a notorious Italian godfather.

Yesterday news broke that the West Australian property developer had been been caught up in a mafia crackdown by Italian police.

Mr Vallelonga's lawyer John Hammond said he had yet to see the warrant but had been informed his client, Domenicantonio Cosimo ''Tony'' Vallelonga, was wanted for questioning over his connections to the Calabrian Mafia, known as the 'Ndrangheta.

He said his client would cooperate with Italian investigators but any move to extradite him to Italy for questioning would be fought.

The way Italian authorities had leaked information about Mr Vallelonga being wanted ahead of any official action was ''shameful'', Mr Hammond said.

''It's certainly not very polite, it's very rude and arrogant to do this through international press releases.''

Mr Vallelonga today broke down in tears as he told reporters he was taking medication to cope with the stress, but reiterated his innocence.

"I will be fighting very hard because I am a man who fights hard for his community," he said.

Tony Vallelonga has broken down in tears while speaking of the emotional toll on him and his family.Tony Vallelonga has broken down in tears while speaking of the emotional toll on him and his family. Photo: Channel Ten

"...It is very distressing. I am 64, this is what I call a campaign against me, that is what it is.

''I'm sorry I'm so emotional but I'm going through a very hard time."

Tony Vallelonga (left) photographed at the Lexus Ball with media mogul Kerry Stokes and his wife Christine.
Tony Vallelonga (left) photographed at the Lexus Ball with media mogul Kerry Stokes and his wife Christine. Photo: Jarrad Seng

He said he didn't understand why he was being targeted, saying he had only made two trips to Italy in 48 years.

"In 1988 I took my my kids (to see) my heritage... 2009 I went back with my wife and many people have all respected me."

I have not been arrested … I am involved with respectable people, not idiots.

His son Sal and wife Mary were with him to show support. Mr Vallelonga jnr said his father had renounced his Italian citizenship to become and Australian.

"He is proud to be Australia," he said.

Tony Vallelonga (right), who is accused of being a Mafia gangster, faces the media with his lawyer John Hammond.
Tony Vallelonga (right), who is accused of being a Mafia gangster, faces the media with his lawyer John Hammond. Photo: Aja Styles

Mrs Vallelonga said she was angry and frustrated over the reports of the arrest warrant and alleged mafia links.

''I'm having to be strong for my husband because he's done nothing wrong,'' she said.

His lawyer John Hammond said Mr Vallelonga had spoken to many people when he visited Italy in 2009 and he would not know if anyone was a member of the mafia, whatever that was defined as being.

''Mr Vallelonga has done absolutely nothing wrong.

''He is a man of propriety who has served his community unfailingly.''

The longstanding local councillor and owner of at least nine registered businesses, including a large property development firm, was yesterday accused by Italian police of having a relationship with 'Ndrangheta boss, Giuseppe Commisso.

Commisso was, until his arrest last year in an Italian police sting, the head of one of the Calabrian Mafia's most powerful clans, based in the Calabrian town of Siderno.

Over the past two days Italian police launched action against more than 40 people, primarily in Italy but also in Germany, Canada and Australia, as a result of monitored phone conversations made by Commisso before his arrest.

Yesterday Mr Vallelonga, who was born in Calabria, denied that he was associated in any way with the 'Ndrangheta, but did accept that he had spoken to Commisso during a trip to Italy two years ago.

''I would have spoken to him personally or in restaurants or in cafes,'' he told a state newspaper.

But he denied the allegations of criminality. ''I have always been an outstanding citizen and this hurts my family,'' he told media yesterday. ''I have not been arrested ... I am involved with respectable people, not idiots.''

But the Calabrian chief of police, Renato Cortese, confirmed they were seeking Mr Vallelonga over his alleged links to Mr Commisso.

The Perth man was allegedly caught discussing his council election with the mob boss, as well as his dissatisfaction with an Australian gangster.

Mr Vallelonga, who came to Australia in 1963, was mayor of Stirling in Perth's north from 1997 to 2005, and has served on the board of the WA Ethnic Community Council.

The federal police would not comment on his case yesterday, but did confirm that they had ''received a request for assistance from Italian authorities which was being progressed at a government-to-government level''.

Friends left shocked

Perth food identity and Calabrese-born butcher Vince Garreffa said he had known Mr Vallelonga for up to 30 years and was shocked by the news.

"I would hope for his sake he is innocent, you would not want to be smeared with these kinds of allegations. We moved away from Calabria to get away from all that s..t," Mr Garreffa said.

"It is a horrible, horrible thing to be caught up in because if he is innocent he has worked his bloody guts out (for the Perth community)."

Mr Garreffa's brother-in-law became a mafia target in Calabria and had to leave after his shop was set on fire and bullets fired through the front door.

"Once you're an enemy of the mafia, they don't stop," Mr Garreffa said.

But he said he was a proud Calabrian because Calabrians were hard workers and men of honour, who should not all be smeared with the same brush as gangsters.

He had never seen any corrupt, or gangster-style, behaviour by Mr Vallelonga while he served as mayor, Mr Garreffa said.

A former New South Wales assistant police commissioner who specialised in organised crime investigations, Clive Small, said yesterday's news was further proof that the mafia problem in Australia was larger than the government and police would admit.

He noted there were clear mafia targets in Australia, men who were involved in corrupt relations with politicians, money laundering and drugs.

- with AAP

Former Perth mayor caught up in international Mafia crackdown

Aja Styles  MARCH 9 2011

http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/former-perth-mayor-caught-up-in-international-mafia-crackdown-20110309-1bn8x.html

A former WA mayor has admitted he was shocked that his name was linked to a multinational crackdown on the Mafia organised crime network which has led to dozens of arrests worldwide.

London's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Italian crime authorities had issued 41 arrest warrants over the operation, and named one of the wanted men as Tony Vallelonga, a former mayor of Stirling - an inner-city Perth municipality with a population of 200,000 - who emigrated from the Italian region of Calabria 30 years ago.

Mr Vallelonga was identified as one of dozens of suspected gangsters allegedly belonging to Italy's most powerful Mafia organisation, the 'Ndrangheta, who were targeted in a police operation spanning three continents.

Police focused their efforts on dozens of people in Italy and Germany and issued arrest warrants for others in Canada and Australia, including Mr Vallelonga.

Mr Vallelonga, who had immediately retained lawyer John Hammond after hearing about the claims through reporters, has vigorously proclaimed his innocence.

"Very damaging, it's upset my family and I believe a man like myself who worked very hard for the community and over the years, not only charitable organisation, retirement village, you name it, I have always been an outstanding citizen and this hurts my family," Mr Vallelonga said.

Mr Hammond said there was no clear accusation brought against his client and he was not aware of any arrest warrant. He said reports on his client were "pure and utter speculation" and he threatened to to take defamation action over the reports.

"What has been said about Mr Vallelonga is absolutely outrageous," he said.

Lawyer John Hammond and his client Tony Vallelonga, who is accused of being a Mafia gangster.Lawyer John Hammond and his client Tony Vallelonga, who is accused of being a Mafia gangster. Photo: Aja Styles

"He has no dealings with the Mafia, he is a man of impeccable standing with the West Australian community and his friends today are standing by him, so allegations being made in the press either directly or by innuendo are defamatory of my client and they are very dangerous.

"He should not be hung, drawn and quartered purely on speculation. There is nothing Mr Vallelonga has done that is wrong."

Tony Vallelonga (left) photographed at the Lexus Ball with media mogul Kerry Stokes and his wife Christine.
Tony Vallelonga (left) photographed at the Lexus Ball with media mogul Kerry Stokes and his wife Christine. Photo: Jarrad Seng

He said despite numerous phone calls the AFP had not given him any information about the accusations and his client had received no official documentation to support the allegations. He was investigating whether it was a case of mistaken identity.

"I will be speaking with the Australian Federal Police and Mr Vallelonga, as you can imagine he is very upset about the allegations," Mr Hammond said earlier this morning.

Italian police reveal a secret bunker where an alleged Mafia boss was found and arrested during the raids.
Italian police reveal a secret bunker where an alleged Mafia boss was found and arrested during the raids. Photo: AP

"It comes as a complete surprise to Mr Vallelonga and shock, might I add, for both him and his family. Mr Vallelonga has an impeccable record of service to the community, particularly to the City of Stirling, where I believe he's a freeman of the city."

The Australian Federal Police have acknowledged a request has been made by Italian police for co-operation, but denied any knowledge of an arrest warrant. A spokeswoman said the matter was being handled at a "government to government level".

A spokeswoman for the federal Attorney-General's department said she could not confirm whether an extradition request had been sought.

"As a matter of long-standing practice, the Australian government does not disclose whether it has received an extradition request until the person is arrested or brought before a court pursuant to a request," she said.

"This is to avoid giving the person who is the subject of the extradition request the opportunity to flee and evade arrest."

Notorious organised crime network

The 41 suspects targeted in the operation were all alleged members of the 'Ndrangheta, the organisation based in Calabria that is now considered to be more powerful than the Cosa Nostra of neighbouring Sicily.

Police said the extent of the operation showed how the 'Ndrangheta had spread beyond its provincial roots to become one of the world's most effective cocaine trafficking networks.

Although it operates on an increasingly global basis, its most far-flung cells remain loyal to bosses in Calabria.

"'There is a perfect reproduction of the Calabrian model," said Giuseppe Pignatone, a prosecutor in Reggio Calabria, the regional capital of Calabria.

"The foreign groups always maintain contact with the centre of operations, which is the Reggio Calabria area, where they periodically come to take their orders, directives, long-term strategies, as well as give an account of what's going on. The fulcrum remains Calabria."

The 'Ndrangheta, which means "virtue" in the local dialect, makes billions of dollars a year trafficking cocaine around the world from South America.

Officers arrested 31 suspects in Italy, while six - all Italian citizens - were apprehended in Germany, near Konstanz on the border with Switzerland and in the state of Hesse to the north. They are expected to be extradited to Italy.

Among those picked up in Italy was Francesco Maisano, 46, an alleged boss.

The arrests stemmed from a wire-tapping operation by Italian police in which they recorded a senior Mafia suspect, Giuseppe Commisso, whose nickname in the Italian dialect is "u mastru" or "the master".

He allegedly issued orders from his Calabrian dry-cleaning shop to lieutenants around the world.

Those arrested could be charged with offences ranging from drug trafficking, money laundering and protection rackets to possession of firearms.

The operation was a follow-up to a raid in Italy last July in which more than 300 alleged 'Ndrangheta members were arrested.

The growing influence of the 'Ndrangheta was underlined by the recent release by WikiLeaks of a confidential cable from an American diplomat in Rome.

The envoy claimed that the criminal group's hold on Calabria was so pervasive that the region would be considered to be a failed state if it were not a part of Italy.

A life of service

Mr Vallelonga, otherwise known as Domenicantonio Cosimo Vallelonga, served as mayor of the City of Stirling  for eight years in the lead up to his retirement in 2005. He had previously served as a councillor for nine years prior to becoming mayor.

His long-service to the council included the foundation of many public buildings like the  city's civic and administration centre, local day centres and the Main Street Commercial precinct upgrade project, as well as helping the city host the Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships from 2007-09 and implement the meals on wheels program and the city's security service.

He was a Justice of the Peace and was made an honorary Freeman of the City of Stirling.

- with The Telegraph, London and AAP

Vallelonga offers to surrender passport

Aja Styles MARCH 16 2011

http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/vallelonga-offers-to-surrender-passport-20110315-1bvm3.html

Former mayor of Stirling Tony Vallelonga has made a desparate plea to Australian authorities to spare his family an embarrassing arrest over claims he is linked to the Italian mafia.

Italian police confirmed last week they wanted to question Mr Vallelonga after recording a conversation with him and notorious 'Ndrangheta crime boss Guiseppe "Joseph" Commisso in Italy in 2009.

Tony Vallelonga has broken down in tears while speaking of the emotional toll on him and his family.
Tony Vallelonga has broken down in tears while speaking of the emotional toll on him and his family. Photo: Channel Ten

The sting on the 'Ndrangheta has resulted in 41 arrest warrants being issued, some of which extended to Germany, Canada and Australia.

The Australian Federal Police confirmed that the Italian authorities had been in talks with the Commonwealth regarding Mr Vallelonga.

RELATED CONTENT

Vallelonga's mafia godfather 'link' the cause of an arrest warrant

Gangsters in the 'land of kangaroos ... must come from our ranks'

AFP this week received a letter from Mr Vallelonga, who has vowed to surrender his passport while he awaits a potential extradition order in exchange that he be allowed to face court of his own free will, rather than be arrested.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor has refused to confirm or deny whether he was considering an extradition order, however a spokeswoman said that any extradition order would take awhile since the accused man had to first be arrested before facing an Australian court.

Lawyer John Hammond and his client Tony Vallelonga, who is accused of being a Mafia gangster.
Lawyer John Hammond and his client Tony Vallelonga, who is accused of being a Mafia gangster. Photo: Aja Styles

Mr Vallelonga has vowed to fight any extradition bid. He has so far denied any wrongdoing, previously telling reporters that "I have always been an outstanding citizen and this hurts my family".

Gangsters in the 'land of kangaroos ... must come from our ranks'

http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/gangsters-in-the-land-of-kangaroos--must-come-from-our-ranks-20110311-1br0i.html

Recorded conversations between the former Stirling mayor Tony Vallelonga and Mafia boss Joseph Commisso, the "Master", during a visit to the notorious godfather's Laundromat in Italy reveal there are "ranks" in Australia, according to the Italian press.

The conversation was taped by the Italian police (Carabinieri) as part of operations for the District Anti-Mafia Directorate of Reggio Calabria, led by prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone, to bring down the 'Ndrangheta's political empire.

Transcripts of the recordings have since leaked across European media, even before Mr Vallelonga has seen an arrest warrant.

A recent article titled "Australia is a land of conquest for the 'Ndrangheta" wrote about the taped conversations, spoken in a Calabrian dialect, between the two men in Siderno, Calabria, in 2009.

Mr Vallelonga breaks the ice by telling Commisso about his problems with a local newspaper, which had reported him being linked to the mafia after he was elected mayor, it reported.

Translated extract:

COMMISSIO: But you see that the Mafia are truly the ones who write the newspapers what the f... they want without anyone saying anything?

VALLELONGA: Yeah ... you know what I have [had happen] combined to me? ...(incomprehensible)... I have won with eighty percent of the vote ... and in a newspaper [they] wrote that I am part of the Mafia ...

COMMISSIO: Bastards! ...

VALLELONGA: But I won with eighty-five ...

COMMISSIO: So are all mafiosi ... (inc.)...

VALLELONGA: Well, I told him this ... eighty-five percent, [the] majority, [were happy] compliments ... sorry if you have any proof to me? ... otherwise I take it ... if there is no evidence ... [but] I got an article in the paper ... [saying it] is not Mr. Vallelonga (inc.) [winning] won with his credit ...

COMMISSIO: ... (inc.) ...

VALLELONGA: disgusting, dishonest ... [reporters] (inc.) ...

COMMISSIO: ... (inc.) ... I [would have]called the reporter and said: Who told you? ...

VALLELONGA: [he said]..."Your community has told me that you are..."... me? ... But I do not even know [the significance of the word] the word that means ... "[then] and why do you (inc.)[hang] around [them?]" ... I told him because I respect [the] people ...

[he then speaks further about how they felt about the far flocked men of the 'Ndrangheta]

"Commisso nods, even in Australia as in Italy, some journalists seem to take pleasure in speaking ill of 'cronies'," the article continued.

"But Tony Vallelonga has crossed the oceans to address another issue. Is there anyone out there in the land of kangaroos is moving bad.

"An emissary landed in Calabria and contacted the leaders of the various 'local'.

"Tony is polite but peremptory: 'If someone has intension to give something must come from our ranks'.

"The language is cryptic (the bosses have their own 'dialect' special). Translated, there is no room for others in Australia. Commisso reassures him 'I swear [it's] gossip, or are a man of peace'."

Comment was sought from Mr Vallelonga's lawyer John Hammond.


Mafia in Australia:

Major drug trafficking group linked to senior politicians, investigation reveals

Four Corners - nJoint investigation by Four Corners and Fairfax - 29 Jun 2015

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-29/italian-mafia-group-linked-to-senior-australian-politicians/6579076


Ms Vanstone is at the centre of two cases uncovered during the investigation

Who are the 'Ndrangheta?

A mafia group from Calabria in the south of Italy. There are thought to be roughly 6,000 members in the world today.

Whilst not as well-known as the Sicilian mafia, the 'Ndrangheta is the most powerful criminal organisation in the world.

The group earned the equivalent of around 3 per cent of Italy's gross domestic product in 2014, mostly from illegal drugs.

Instead of the pyramid structure of bosses used by other mafia groups, the 'Ndrangheta recruits members on the criterion of blood relationships and marriages.

The group's best-known crime was the 1973 kidnap of the grandson of oil tycoon John Paul Getty. His ear was chopped off to garner a ransom from his grandfather.

Known as "The Honoured Society" in Australia and reportedly involved in the Victoria Market murders in 1963.

Links between the Calabrian Mafia and senior Australian politicians have been uncovered
 in a joint investigation by Four Corners and Fairfax newspapers.

The year-long investigation found the Calabrian Mafia, known as 'Ndrangheta, had used a number of well-known party donors to put a "legitimate public face" on its activities.

The 'Ndrangheta is one of the world's most powerful criminal groups and is thought to be one of the major players in the world of international drug trafficking.

In Australia it operates using threats and violence in both legitimate businesses, such as fruit and vegetables, and illegitimate businesses, such as drugs.

The investigation has revealed a series of contacts between known and suspected criminals and senior politicians.

On one occasion, a man with deep mafia associations met then prime minister John Howard and other top Liberal Party figures at a fundraising event. It is not suggested that Mr Howard knew of the connection.

The investigation has also revealed donors have lobbied on behalf of a mafia figure to a host of Liberal and Labor MPs over issues related to their businesses.

Son of alleged mafia boss did work experience at embassy

Four Corners can reveal the son of another alleged mafia boss did work experience at the Australian embassy in Rome while former Liberal minister Amanda Vanstone was ambassador.

Prior to his placement, Italian authorities were sharing sensitive information about the alleged mafia boss through the embassy.

While there is no direct evidence the embassy placement — which involved the man's son working in a clerical role — led to any actual security breaches, security agencies have described it as a major lapse.

Ms Vanstone, who is now retired from politics, is also at the centre of another episode uncovered during the investigation.

When she was immigration minister in the Howard government, she granted a visa for a crime boss who was later jailed for drug trafficking and implicated in a murder plot.

The man, who is the brother of a well-known Melbourne businessman, has an extensive criminal history in Italy.

He was set to be deported, but his family used its money and influence to conduct a lobbying campaign with some of the country's most powerful Liberal politicians — including Ms Vanstone.

Eventually in 2005, the man was granted a visa to stay in Australia on humanitarian grounds.

There is no suggestion Ms Vanstone acted improperly in either case, though confidential police assessments suggest it indicates her South Australian Senate office had likely been infiltrated by mafia figures.

Just a couple of years later, the man was implicated in one of Australia's largest ever drug busts.

'Lack of checks' in donations system leading to 'loopholes'

The report also details how "loopholes" in the donations system, and the long-running failure to reform it, continue to expose Australian politicians to potential corruption.

Through Freedom of Information laws, the investigation obtained a 2009 AFP report that described a "lack of checks and oversight" in the Australian political donations system as "significant" failings.

"As it stands, political parties and candidates can receive significant support and financial contributions through avenues not covered by the statutory disclosure regime," the AFP report said.

"Loopholes" in the oversight system mean it is "difficult to identify any bribery in the form of political donations".

The report states the Australian Electoral Commission has attempted to address this on many occasions, but that many amendments have not been passed by the Federal Parliament.

The document was written after an investigation into the mafia's fundraising activities.

Watch Four Corners — The Mafia in Australia: Drugs, Murder and Politics on ABC iView.

Next week Four Corners will look at the inside story of the world's biggest ecstasy bust, the next crop of mafia leaders in Australia and one senior Mafioso's Labor connection.

Topics: law-crime-and-justice, crime, government-and-politics, australia, italy


Australian figures linked to Calabrian Mafia revealed; experts warn more police focus needed on organised crime

Four Corners  By Alison Branley

Updated 6 Jul 2015,

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-06/calabrian-mafia-continues-flourish-despite-police-operations/6596192

Australian figures linked to Calabrian Mafia revealed; experts warn more police focus needed on organised crime

A Glock hand gun and bullets.

PHOTO: The Calabrian Mafia continues to flourish in Australia despite major police operations.  (Flickr: mynameisgeebs)

RELATED STORY: Call for political donation reform after Mafia linked to politicians

RELATED STORY: Italian mafia group linked to senior politicians, investigation reveals

MAP: Australia

Detective-Superintendent Matt Warren

PHOTO: Detective-Superintendent Matt Warren said the mafia was robust and difficult to defeat.  (ABC)
Former NSW police assistant commissioner Clive Small

PHOTO: Clive Small says the authorities have ignored recommendations to set up a long term anti-mafia offensive. (ABC)

Nick McKenzie's brush with the mafia

https://ci3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/fyvWApAp_dLiTQaCAV4F8dOukyn1GJAlkp_17fRoTEcI-9ZoT5hv64sAm3yZQTEJXbLetBaOskfP0W4sg1VeWYNbm9Qkyu2fbGHBP35S87vY9K2KIb-RnygrJv0=s0-d-e1-ft#http://www.abc.net.au/cm/lb/6596438/data/nick-mckenzie-custom-data.jpg

How one call from entrepreneurial drug trafficker Pat Barbaro plunged journalist Nick McKenzie into an Australian mafia investigation.

Australian authorities cannot afford to let their focus on terrorism allow them to become complacent about the reach of the Calabrian Mafia, organised crime experts have warned.

A joint Fairfax/ABC investigation into the Calabrian Mafia has further exposed the influence of the group across Australia.

It found policing authorities have failed to dismantle a "board of directors" of Calabrian Mafia heads across Australia, which has allowed them to continue illicit drug trades, form links with bikie groups, and infiltrate all levels of government.

It has prompted anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri to warn that while police around the world focus on terrorism, the tentacles of the Calabrian Mafia could be going unchecked.

"When social alarm is provoked over terrorism, governments are forced to invest in terrorism and not in mafia ... the mafia celebrates because they know there are fewer resources," Dr Gratteri said.

"I think Australia should look at the mafia problem, the 'Ndrangheta problem, again and not measure the presence or the strength of 'Ndrangheta or any mafia by the number of people killed on the street or shootings at shop windows."

Instead, Dr Gratteri said authorities should examine the supply and control of cocaine being sold at bars, pubs and clubs.

"Because whoever controls the cocaine, with those earnings they buy all the property for sale. In that way they control the market, they control the economy," he said.

His view is backed by Australian experts past and present who have investigated the mafia dealings.

In the second of a two-part Four Corners series, investigative journalist Nick McKenzie examines the link between a number of Australian politicians, from local to federal government, and alleged Australian Calabrian Mafia figures.

Among them is a former mayor of an area in Perth and a Labor Party figure from Melbourne.

New South Wales police files also reveal the Calabrian Mafia has built close ties to outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs), including the Rebels and Bandidos.

"This is particularly evident with identified connections to the Sydney and North Coast Bandidos OMCG and the Canberra and Batemans Bay Rebels OMCG. There is also intelligence of links to the Finks OMCG through associates," the files state.

Victorian Labor party delegate had close ties to Mafia

The ABC has evidence Victorian Labor Party delegate Michael Teti, who is now an ALP councillor at Moreland City Council in Melbourne, spent months doing banking for and running the fruit business of convicted crime boss Frank Madafferi.

While there is no suggestion Mr Teti was involved in drug trafficking, he allegedly supplied a gun to one of Madafferi's mafia henchmen which was then used to threaten a woman.

Mr Teti was later found guilty of carrying a loaded gun in a public place and placed on a good behaviour bond.

Documents obtained show that Mr Teti acted as an adviser and gofer for Madafferi while the mafia boss was facing serious drug trafficking charges.

Madafferi was convicted over the world's largest ever drug bust in 2007, when authorities seized four tonnes of ecstasy tablets imported in tomato cans.

During this period, Mr Teti also secured one of Madafferi's associates a job in federal Labor senator Mehmet Tillem's office.

There is no suggestion Mr Tillem, who is no longer a senator, knew Mr Teti or that his now former employee had close ties to Madafferi.

In March, despite knowledge within the Labor Party of Mr Teti's ties to a crime figure, the ALP invited him as a delegate to the party's state conference, allowing him to vote on policy and party issues.

Following inquiries from the ABC, the ALP said on the weekend it would now seek to expel Mr Teti from its Victorian branch.

Mr Teti denies any wrongdoing and said he only had a professional relationship with Madafferi.

Former WA mayor faces accusations he led mafia cell

Court documents from ongoing proceedings in Italy also show Italian prosecutors allege Tony Vallelonga, who is the former mayor of Stirling in Perth, is the local leader of a mafia cell in Perth.

Court files allege that Mr Vallelonga is responsible for "making the most important decisions, imparting orders or imposing sanctions on other subordinate associates".

The files allege Mr Vallelonga was concerned about a rival who wanted to start his own cell on Mr Vallelonga's turf with the approval of Calabrian bosses.

Mr Vallelonga was allegedly recorded in an Italian laundromat recounting a conversation with his competitor where he allegedly said: "As long as I'm alive, you don't get a locale [local mafia cell] ... and that's that!"

To which his rival responded: "You can't be the man any more ... enough!"

It comes after the prosecutors sought to question Mr Vallelonga over his dealings in Calabria with a notorious mafia boss.

Mr Valleonga has always denied the allegations and in a statement sent to the ABC, Mr Vallelonga's lawyer said any allegation the former mayor had ever been involved in criminal activity was "completely without any foundation".

Outside of the political arena, Italian police have identified another Australian allegedly working in Calabria who is part of the influential Alvaro family.

Some members of the family were recently subjects of an international anti-mafia operation when authorities seized tonnes of cocaine and made dozens of arrests.

Confidential Italian and Australian police files state that the Alvaro clan has arms in Australia.

They are allegedly headed by Adelaide construction figure Paul Alvaro, 64, and a New South Wales man.

The pair are among figures around the country, including in Griffith, New South Wales.

A police assessment said the individuals operate as "an executive board of directors" for the Calabrian Mafia.

Police focus on organised crime needed, say experts

Experts both local and abroad have suggested law enforcement authorities need to allocate more resources to keeping organised crime in check.

A 2013 multi-agency report warned that "'Ndrangheta Transnational Australian Groups posed a major organised crime risk to Australia".

Former New South Wales police assistant commissioner Clive Small investigated the Calabrian Mafia as part of the Woodward Royal Commission.

He said authorities had been denying for 16 years there was Calabrian Mafia in Australia and had ignored recommendations to set up a long-term anti-mafia offensive.

"If we say it doesn't exist, then we don't have to do anything because there's nothing to respond to and I think that's the problem," he said.

"It's been hidden from the public because it's too big a political problem."

Detective Superintendent Matt Warren, who led Australia's biggest mafia bust, said the mafia was robust and could regroup better than any other organised crime syndicate after major convictions.

"What we've seen is that these groups are very difficult to defeat," he said.

"In the past where they've suffered defeats at the hands of law enforcement ... through those family connections they're able to rebuild.

"They will reorganise and they'll continue to conduct unlawful activity, drug importations, white collar crime, because it's their business."

Their concern echoes a classified 2003 National Crime Authority report obtained by the ABC.

"It is suggested that they [Australia's mafia cells] will neither decline nor cease their activities in the foreseeable future due to their long entrenched history in criminality in Australia, the steady market demand for cannabis and other illicit drugs and the diversion of law enforcement efforts to other areas," it states.

Detective Superintendent Warren said the mafia would try to cultivate people from all walks of life, particularly those with influence.

"We certainly see organised crime figures cultivating sporting stars. It's no different with political figures," he said.

"They're looking to try and gain influence and gain power and use that towards potentially diverting attention away from themselves."

Mr Small was surprised by the amount of contact mafia figures had with Australian politicians.

"I can't believe our politicians are so dopey that, having known the allegations, that they continued to have a fund, to accept money from a fundraiser," he said.

"I find that so extremely difficult to understand how they could do it or how they could be so naïve."

Topics: crimedrug-offencespoliceaustralia

First posted 5 Jul 2015,


From Armenia to Australia, how the mob controls the trafficking of ice into Australia

http://www.smh.com.au/national/from-armenia-to-australia-how-the-mob-controls-the-trafficking-of-ice-into-australia-20160318-gnlwal.html

March 19 2016

The Calabrian Mafia controls the supply and trafficking of large quantities of methamphetamine into Australia.

Mark Hawthorne, Josephine McKenna

In America, they are called the "Five Families".
The term refers to the five major New York organised crime families of the Mafia,
with a history that can be traced in the United States back to 1931.

                          
   
            Joseph 'Pino' Acquaro was gunned down in Brunswick in March last year.

In America, they are called the "Five Families".
 The term refers to the five major New York organised crime families of the Mafia,
with a history that can be traced in the United States back to 1931.

       
 Franco Roberti, a leading Italian prosecutor, has warned Australia it must do more to fight the Mafia's power. Photo: Penny Bradfield

  Thanks to Hollywood, the family names are almost as well-known in Australia as they are in New York.
   The Gambino, Lucchese, Bonanno, Colombo and Genovese crime families have been mythologised in film and filled hours of true-crime television shows.

           
   The Melbourne and Sydney crime families are believed to be the liaison between Calabria and the trafficking of drugs to Australia. 

   They are called "the Seven Families of Adelaide". The term refers to the Calabrian Mafia's history in Australia, which tracks back to 1922,
   when the ship Re D'Italia docked in Adelaide.

    According to an ASIO report from the 1960s, the Re D'Italia carried three 'Ndrangheta members – the name for the Calabrian Mafia –
    who would set up cells in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Family members soon followed from the old country.
    Within a decade, those seven families were starting to exert control over the fruit and vegetable trade in Australia.

   A British-based criminologist, Dr Anna Sergi, detailed some of this history at a parliamentary inquiry into methamphetamine trade back in 2014.

     "In Italy we call [them] the 'Five Families of New York' and we call [them] 'the Seven Families of Adelaide'," Dr Sergi told the parliamentary inquiry. "
     [In Calabria] it is not even contemporary debate. It is a given."

     By 1940, more than 10 murders and 30 bombings had been attributed to the 'Ndrangheta in Australia. By the end of the century, from the corridors of power
     to the aisles of the nation's biggest supermarket chains, there was barely an Australian who hadn't been touched in some way by the influence of the Calabrian Mafia.

    For more than 30 years, from the mid-1960s until the 1990s, the 'Ndrangheta controlled the fruit and vegetable markets in Victoria with an iron fist. The racket involved bribing    supermarket buyers to take fruit and vegetables at inflated prices from Melbourne's market stall-holders, who had been forced to pay a levy of 50¢ a case directly to the Mafia.

   The scam netted tens of millions of dollars, all of which was ultimately paid for by consumers.

   A confidential police report, which formed the basis of a joint Fairfax Media and Four Corners investigation last year, alleged a similar racket operated out of
   Sydney's seafood markets, only this time it was control of the supply chain for prawns, rather than fresh produce, that netted millions for the mob.

   Extortion, bribery, cannabis cultivation and racketeering have been the hallmarks of the 'Ndrangheta  in Australia for almost a century.
   But Italian investigators warn that the    new generation of mobsters are involved in a much more damaging trade.

   The Melbourne and Sydney families are believed to be the liaison between Calabria and the trafficking of drugs to Australia.
    They are believed to control the supply and trafficking of large quantities of methamphetamine  into Australia.

    Franco Roberti, who comes from Naples, is known for prosecutions against members of the Naples Mafia, the Camorra.
    He was appointed Italy's top anti-Mafia prosecutor in 2013. He has been particularly outspoken about the changing role of the Mafia in Italy.
    He spoke publicly this week about how the Mafia was simply using the threat of violence to intimidate a growing number of businesses in Italy. 
    "Only when they don't get what they want, do they take violent action," he told the national daily, La Repubblica, on Wednesday. 

    But, generally, the Mafia gets what it wants. In Australia, it wants the methamphetamine trade.

     In 2014, the Parliament of Victoria's Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee conducted an inquiry into
    "the supply and use of methamphetamines, particularly ice, in Victoria".

    The committee was told the key organisation behind the trafficking of large quantities of ice out of Europe was the Calabrian Mafia.

    Evidence was given by Dr Sergi, who has worked closely with Italian anti-Mafia investigators.

    Dr Sergi told the inquiry the path for ice to the streets of Melbourne and Sydney was controlled by Italian crime families via "brokers",
    who tend to be Spanish and Armenian, and Italian authorities were aware of the trade.

   "The channels to Australia for methamphetamines that we found to have been organised by Italians generally go from Armenia, where they are transported ... to Bilbao,~
    and then on flights from Bilbao to Europe, mainly in the plastic parts of suitcases, that is the favourite way," Dr Sergi told the inquiry.
    "From Prague and Frankfurt, they are ... shipped to Australia."

    From there, the inquiry was told, "Melbourne and Adelaide are the ports of choice for the arrival of drugs in Australia."

     Dr Sergi said Italian investigators knew the trafficking of methamphetamines from Armenia to Australia was controlled by the Calabrian Mafia. 
    "The branches of the 'Ndrangheta are identified and known to Italian authorities and have been known for more than 50 years," she said.

    "They have names of families, and they believe that there are at least from seven to 15 active clans in Australia at the moment ...  
      Italian organised crime is trusted to complete the trafficking, precisely for reasons that are related to the fact that they are the trustworthier [criminal] group
     in circulation for Australia."

    Italian authorities may be aware of the pathway of ice from Armenia to Australia, but they have been unable to stop it.
    That is due, they say, to a breakdown in communications between Australia and Italy.

    When lawyer Joseph ​Acquaro was gunned down on Melbourne's streets this week, Italian prosecutors were quick to call for a joint investigation.
   Solving a murder in faraway Australia was the least of their priorities. The key game was re-opening communications between Australia and Italy.

   Outside of Calabria, the 'Ndrangheta has three known strongholds. Dr Sergi calls them the Mafia's "chambers of control". One is Lombardia, in Italy's north.
   The second is Canada. The third is Australia.

   "For Italians, this is more than certain: the Australian chamber of control is one of the three generic chambers of control of this type of Mafia.
   To be honest with you, when we talk about this with Italian prosecutors they are always very angry about Australians in this sense,
    because apparently there is the problem that they have with intelligence sharing."

   In the wake of the Acquaro shooting, Italian investigators are still waiting for Australian police to get on the phone. 



'I'm going to cut his 'f***in' head off': How the Calabrian mafia came to Australia in the 1920s and brought murder and a billion dollar drug trade which is now controlled by 31 families across the nation

Sixty percent of Australia's drug trade is controlled by 31 Italian families

Mafia in Australia began in 1920s with shootings among Italian immigrants

New book by a former policeman details history of the mafia in Australia

Today, 31 Calabrian mafia families in Australia report to five families in Italy

By Candace Sutton for Daily Mail Australia


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3400577/How-31-Calabrian-mafia-families-control-60-percent-Australia-s-drug-trade.html


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3400577/How-31-Calabrian-mafia-families-control-60-percent-Australia-s-drug-trade.html#ixzz4eyL06uGJ
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3400577/How-31-Calabrian-mafia-families-control-60-percent-Australia-s-drug-trade.html

It sounds like a scene from The Godfather/

But it happened in downtown Melbourne, when one Australian member of the Calabrian mafia threatened to kill another over a 1.2 million Ecstasy tablet importation scheme that was coming unstuck.

Francesco 'Frank' Madafferi is from one of Australia's 31 Calabrian mafia families who are believed to control 60 per cent of Australia's illicit drug trade.

In July 2008, Madafferi was highly agitated about a drug syndicate underling called Pino Varallo, who he was threatening to 'chop into little pieces' and eat 'one bite at a time'.

Caught on Australian Federal Police telephone intercepts, Madafferi was talking down the phone to ecstasy drug syndicate boss, Pasquale Barbaro, complaining that the tablets he had sold cheaply for $8 each had been onsold by Varallo for $8.50.

Scroll down for video 

   

    Ecstasy importer Pasquale Barbaro, pictured under police surveillance with drug syndicate henchman,
   Jan Visser,  in Melbourne comes from a Calabrian Italian family one of just 31 in Australia who control drug trades

Ecstasy importer Pasquale Barbaro, pictured under police surveillance with drug syndicate henchman, Jan Visser, in Melbourne comes from a Calabrian Italian family one of just 31 in Australia who control drug trades

When Barbaro put Varallo on to talk, Madafferi claimed the right to set the price of ecstasy in his home city, although acknowledging that the other states were under Barbaro's control.

'[I'm] responsible fo Melbourne... Melbourne is mine,' he yelled at Varallao, warning him not to 'break my f***ing balls on my f***ing turf'.

In the ensuing days, Madafferi did not let up telling Barbaro: 'I'm going to pull his f***ing head off ... I'm going to eat him alive. Tell him that he can go get his f***ing coffin, get it f***ing ready.'

A terrified Varallo told Barbaro that Madafferi was 'going off his rocker... off his tree' and had threatened to slit Varallo's throat or shoot him. 

Barbaro told Madafferi he had authorised Varallo to sell the ecstasy an $8.50 a pill and an uneasy truce was called.


      

  Australia's most notorious godfather 'Aussie Bob' Trimbole was sought for the murder of anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay in 1977

Mackay in 1977

      

    Griffith furniture retailer and anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay (pictured with his wife Barbara and son James)
     was murdered in a 1977 hit organised by godfather of the local cannabis trade, Bob Trimbole

   

     These are the tomato tins filled with ecstasy pills imported from Calabria that were part of two $22.5 million drug importations
     by the Pasquale Barbaro syndicate that came unstuck causing tensions

   

   Melbourne mafia don Frank Madafferi, from one of Australia's 31 Calabrian mafia families
   that control 60 per cent of the Australian drug trade,
   threatened to chop Pino Varallo 'into little pieces' and eat 'one bite at a time'

The real scene is relayed in a new book Evil Life, published by Allen and Unwin, and written by former NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Clive Small and journalist and writer Tom Gilling.

In dramatic and often thrilling scenes, the authors recount the history of the mafia in Australia, beginning in the 1920s when shootings, bombings and extortions began among Italian immigrants to a new life.

What was to become the Australian mafia came exclusively from Calabria, the region in the far southern 'boot' of Italy, known for its rugged territory and its secret societies. 

In their new country, this handful of families were controlled back in Calabria and known as 'Ndrangheta, which means heroism or manly virtue.

'Ndrangheta was to flourish and thrive, with Australia's most senior crime-fighting group refusing, to their peril, for almost two decades to acknowledge their existence in this country.

      


   On the morning of February 11, 1930 Domenico Belle was stabbed to death at Newtown train station
   in inner city Sydney after attempting to collect a debt from barbershop owner Giuseppe Mammone


     

   Stabbed to death at Newtown in Sydney in 1930, Domenico Belle (above) was one of the first Calabrian mafia deaths
   in Australia perpetrated by Italian immigrants who brought with them their feared society 'Ndrangheta

       
     Giuseppe Parisi 

   In 1934 in far Northern Queensland, Giuseppe Parisi (above) and Giuseppe Bueti held down Giovanni Iacona  while a third man, Nicola Mamone, cut off his ears

    
   Giuseppe Bueti

   After Parisi and Giuseppe Bueti (pictured) held down Iaccona while Nicola Mamone cut off his ears,
   Iacona shot Mamone six times in the head

     

   Francesco Gugliemo Femio 

   Queensland, Giuseppe Parisi (above, left) and Giuseppe Bueti (centre) held down Giovanni Iacona  
   while a third man, Nicola Mamone, cut off his ears.
    Iacona later murdered Mamone. Francesco Gugliemo Femio (above, right)
    was murdered by a Black Hand assassin in 1936

   

  Rocco Medici (pictured) was one of two men tortured and killed in 1984 near Griffith, NSW, which was the centre of Australia's cannabis trade


     

  Scarcella (above) was fatally hit with three blasts from a shotgun at his stables near Ingham, Queensland.

In 1935, prosperous cane farmer Domenico Scarcella (above) was fatally hit with three blasts from a shotgun at his stables near Ingham, Queensland

'I don't list their names because they are common Italian family names in Australia.'

For example, Small said, at least two mafia bosses had been called Pasquale Barbaro - the Griffith drugs boss also called 'Il Principale' who was murdered in an 'Ndrangheta hit in Brisbane in 1989 and the ecstasy importation boss who is currently in jail.

Small says the Calabrian mafia infiltrated capital cities and country towns and intermarried, Il Principale describing at one point the two or three dozen bosses - 10 from Sydney, 6-8 from Melbourne, Adelaide and Mildura and 11 from Griffith - nine of whom were related to Barbaro by marriage.

He recounts the agenda items of an 1989 meeting of 20 senior 'Ndrangheta in a backyard shed in Adelaide, in which police bugs picked up talk about mafia rituals, revenge killings, cannabis production and weapons purchases.

They also discussed the need to infiltrate police and the judiciary, use 'government friends' and access criminal intelligence through corrupt police.

'This later happened,' Small said.

In fascinating detail, the book takes the spread of the mafia from Queensland canefields where in the 1930s early Calabrian immigrants ran prostitution rackets of 13 and 14-year-old girls to the labourers, to the big cities and the NSW country town of Griffith, which was eventually the centre of the Calabrian cannabis production.

Small says in Australia between the 1920s and 1940s the 'Ndrangheta committed 10 murders, multiple woundings and 30 bombings.

Known then as 'the Black Hand', this emerging violent group introduced practices including gruesome mutilations and revenge killings that alarmed Australians.

On the morning of February 11, 1930 Domenico Belle was stabbed to death at Newtown train station after attempting to collect a debt from barbershop owner Giuseppe Mammone

In 1934 Italian barber Nicola Mamone was shot six times from behind while walking with a friend in Innisfail, in far northern Queensland. 

His killer, Giovanni Iacona had allegedly been involved in a fight with Mamone, who had cut off both of Iacona's ears while two men, Gisueppe Bueti and Giuseppe Parisi, held him down. 

A year later, prosperous cane farmer Domenico Scarcella was fatally hit with three blasts from a shotgun at his stables near Ingham, Queensland.

By the 1960s, the Calabrian were 'well-organised and entering the drug trade', Small said.

      


   The scene at Newtown Station in inner city Sydney after startled Australians learnt of
    one of Australia's earliest mafia hits by a barbershop owner on Domenico Belle

     Drug baron Bob Trimbole 

  Drug baron Bob Trimbole was credited with organising the hit on Donald Mackay but escaped overseas, eventually dying in Spain

   James Bazley

Drug baron Bob Trimbole (above) organised the hit on Donald Mackay but escaped overseas.
 James Bazley (above, right) was charged with having conspired with others to murder Mackay

      

  Police conduct aerial surveillance of an orange orchard near Griffith in 2011.
     It is one of four sites in which marijuana crops were found hidden in vegetaion

Robert Trimbole was to become synonymous with the Griffith 'grass mafia' and Australia's first 'Godfather' and drug baron

Trimbole went into the cannabis business with their orange growing neighbours, the Sergis, in 1970.

When furniture retailer and anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay disappeared from a hotel car park in Griffith in 1977, the town's reputation as Australia's 'marijuana capital' and home to Italian mobsters was cemented.

The murder led to the Woodward Royal Commission into drug trafficking. The by now notorious 'Aussie Bob' Trimbole was sought for Mackay's murder, but fled overseas and died in Spain in 1987, aged 56.

      

   Saviero Zirilli (pictured after his arrest in 2008) was a member of the Calabrian mafia drug ring
    who thought they were goign to get rich from a multi-million dollar ecstasy importation that landed him in prison

      

   Scenes from the Ingham bombing in far northern Queensland. It was one of several atrocities carried out in the 1920s
    in which Black Hand boss Vincenzo Dagostino spread fear

       

    Police burn part of a $23 million cannabis crop uncovered in 2011 raids at
    Griffith, NSW - Australia's notorious drug capital

     

   The tomato tins filled with Ecstasy tablets that were imported into Australia and sat on the Melbourne wharf
    for six months while the drug syndicate wondered if police were surveilling them

      

     Ecstasy pills that were part of the giant 2008 importation, stamped with the symbol of a kangaroo

Clive Small acted as an investigator in the royal commission, working in Griffith examining the Calabrian families intimately involved in the drug trade.

He tables in his book the astonishing dominance by Calabrians of Australia's cannabis trade which at one point, according to arrest statistics, was 80 per cent controlled by Calabrians who came from 14 closely related families in Griffith.

      

    Calabrian mafia boss Pasquale Barbaro pictured after his arerest for running a syndicate which imported millions of ecstasy tablets

Small says that the 'Ndrangheta is politically an equal opportunity group with connections in both Labor and Liberal Coalition parties.

In 1994, National Crime Authority senior investigator Detective Sergeant Geoffrey Bowen was killed in a targeted bombing of the NCA's Adelaide office.

Bowen had been investigating the 'Ndrangheta's involvement in the Australian drug trade.

But for the 16 years after the tragedy, Small says the NCA, which became the Australian Crime Commission, 'remained silent or denied there was a mafia in Australia' and as a consequence the mafia flourished.

In 2007, Pasquale Barbaro's syndicate imported $10 million of ecstasy in tomato tins from Italy. The pill crammed tomato tins sat on the Melbourne wharf as Barbaro wondered whether a rival gang had appropriated the importation or the Australian Federal Police had him under surveillance.

The latter was true. The AFP spent tens of thousands of hours keeping Barbaro, Frank Madafferi and their gang under video and phone intercept surveillance.

Back in Calabria, the 'Ndrangheta godfathers were putting on presure to be paid their $10 million.

      

   Police spent tens of thousands of hours keeping Pasquale Barbaro (second from right) and
   his gang including (left to right) John Higgs, Rob Karam and Saviero Zirilli under video and phone intercept surveillance.

   John Higgs

    Carmelo Falanga 

Pasquale Barbaro's Calabrian mafia drug syndicate associates John Higgs following his arrest in 2008 after federal police blew apart their ecstasy importation ring

Carmelo Falanga (above right) following his arrest in 2008 after federal police blew apart their ecstasy importation ring

     

   The ecstasy haul, uncovered by the Australian Federal Police in 2007, and
   kept as the Calabrian mafia tried to work out whether the police knew about the drugs of a rival gang had appropriated their haul



 Rob Karam (pictured) was arrested after police swooped and made multiple arrests across four states
 in relation to the importation of millions of ecstasy tablets from Calabria

Barbaro flew to Calabria and brokered a deal whereby a further shipments of 1.2 million tablets would arrive and be distributed in Sydney, Melbourne, South Australia and Western Australia.

A profit of $12.5m was sent back to the suppliers to cover the $10m Calabrian debt, and as a down payment on the second shipment. The AFP then swooped and made multiple arrests across four states.

Clive Small has high praise for the AFP's operation in the tomato tin case.

'It was a very good operation. I want to emphasise that. And for 'Ndramngheta it was a significant setback,' he said.

'But it was only a temporary setback. I am confident that the Calabrian mafia is operating drug deals across Australia at this very second and that they have affiliations with both political parties,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'There have been 35 murders since Donald Mackay's by the Calabrian mafia and that does not include domestic murders.

The 31 mafia families in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia have business connections with the nine leading 'Ndrangheta families in Plati, San Luca, Sinopoli and Africo where the bulk of Calabrian migration to Australia originated.

'History shows that for 'Ndrangheta busiens is ultimately all that matters,' he said.

Evil Life, by Clive Small and Tom Gilling, published by Allen and Unwin $32.99 is available from January 27 throughout Australia.

    

     Clive Small says that the Calabrian mafia have carried out at least 35 murders since killing anti-drugs
campaigner Donald Mackay (pictured, right, back)
with his wife Barabra and their four children in Easter 1977, shortly before he vanished

Read more:

Evil Life - Clive Small and Tom Gilling - 9781742374925 - Allen & Unwin - Australia



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Rocco Medici (pictured) was one of two men tortured and killed in 1984 near Griffith, NSW, which was the centre of Australia's cannabis trade

Culturally, the Sicilian mafia known as the Cosa Nostra is more well known outside Italy than 'Ndrangheta, but in the late 1990s and early 2000s 'Ndrangheta became Italy's most powerful crime syndicate.

'[To this day] the 31 Calabrian mafia families across Australia report to five families in Calabria, which are really nine families integrated by marriage,' Clive Small told Daily Mail Australia about the new facts he reveals in his book.



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Evil Life- The true story of the Calabrian Mafia in Australia

Clive Small and Tom Gilling  AUD $32.99

      

https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/general-books/true-crime/Evil-Life-Clive-Small-and-Tom-Gilling-9781742374925

The Calabrian Mafia in Australia is alive and well. This is the first time its real story in this country has ever been told.

The Calabrian mafia is Australia's oldest, largest and most ruthless crime syndicate, trafficking drugs worth billions of dollars and laundering the proceeds through sophisticated international networks.

Enforcing discipline with age-old tools of violence and intimidation, the Calabrians have been responsible for nearly 40 murders in Australia since the mid-1970s and many more before that. Mafia families in Australia report directly to bosses in Calabria and profits are funnelled back to the mother organisation. Yet despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Federal and State law enforcement agencies have long assured the public that there is no Calabrian mafia in Australia.

With powerful and uncompromising clarity, Evil Life shatters this myth. Drawing on court documents and unreleased intelligence reports, as well as interviews with well-informed sources, the authors reveal how the Calabrian mafia evolved from its beginnings on the north Queensland cane fields in the 1920s to establish cells in every major capital city, making Australia a key outpost in the world of global organised crime.

 




'Ndrangheta: Exploring the mafia's underground world

By John Dickie - Author of Mafia Republic- 1 May 2013

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22315469

    

      Michele Zagaria was on the run for 16 years, then found in a bunker near Naples


The biggest cocaine smugglers in Europe are the 'Ndrangheta, a mafia from the "toe of Italy", Calabria. They may not be as well known as their Sicilian counterparts but their drugs and extortion business is worth billions of euros. When cornered their bosses hole up in secret bunkers.

I don't think I've ever been so relieved to see sunlight. Since dead of night I had been crawling through tunnels strewn with rat excrement, personal effects and the paraphernalia of the cocaine business.

The dust and damp were choking. How long had I been underground? Four hours? Five? Eight? Then at last, filthy, tired, and disorientated, I surfaced into a gorgeous mountain landscape, and a breeze bearing the perfume of wild oregano.

I felt as if I had just escaped a brush with insanity, with evil.

The tunnels were in the town of Plati, on Aspromonte, the "harsh mountain" that dominates the landscape at the very toe-tip of Italy's boot.

Plati has been notorious for a century as a stronghold of the 'Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mafia.

Its bosses are among the world's leading cocaine traffickers, and they have particularly strong links to the 'Ndrangheta's outposts in Australia.

But recently they have not been having things their own way.

Pursued by a newly determined police, the 'Ndranghetisti constructed an astonishing network of secret hiding places under the streets and houses.

It is virtually a parallel city, an underworld Plati where bunkers located behind sliding staircases, hidden trapdoors and even inside a pizza oven are linked by endless tunnels.

There is a kind of madness to the bunkers of Plati.

Even the deepest and best-concealed bolt-holes have secret escape routes within them.

The tunnels merge and separate, feed into the sewer system, and branch out again for hundreds of metres, emerging right outside town, amid the bushes of a dry river bed.

Now the tunnels have been discovered, and left to the curiosity of rats and mafia historians like me.

Plati is not the only place in southern Italy that has seen an epidemic of bunker-building in recent years.

One of the carabinieri (paramilitary policemen) we interviewed told us he had personally found a dozen bunkers just in one large orange grove near the notorious town of Rosarno.

The Rosarno variety tends to have a different design.

Because the local 'Ndrangheta long controlled the container port at nearby Gioia Tauro, they make their bunkers from shipping containers.

The preferred method is to weld a couple together, furnish the inside with all mod cons, and then bury them.

Mafiosi in other regions have their own ingenious building techniques: there are even specialist bunker builders.

Mafia bunkers tell us a great deal about the current state of Italy's fight against its mafias.

If Italy is going to defeat the scourge that has plagued it since the 19th Century, then guilty verdicts that judges pass against mafiosi have to be translated into years actually served in prison.

For decades, that was not the case. Trials were held, but all too often the dock was empty because the defendants had vanished.

Hundreds of convicted mobsters were at large, murdering, extorting and dealing in narcotics. And the longer they stayed free, the greater their criminal prestige grew, and the more damage they did to the state's credibility.

Now the hunt for mafia fugitives is a top priority for the Italian authorities.

   
   
Map of Italy

But then fugitives is not the right word. Because a wanted mafia boss rarely goes on the run or leaves his territory.

To do so would be to abandon his throne, and invite a usurper to take his place. The best solution is to build an underground bunker: home, hideout, fortress, and command centre.

So the bosses go to ground for weeks, and even months at a time, watching the world through their security cameras, issuing orders down secret telephone lines, their whereabouts known to only a small circle of supporters.

So on one level the whole mafia bunker craze (there are thought to be hundreds across the mafia-infested regions of the South) is a sign that organised crime is on the defensive.


 bunker was found in this villa in Calabria, owned by an 'Ndranghetisti

But bunkers also tell us just how powerful the mafias' territorial control is.

The blanket of silence - known as omerta - in this part of the world can be astonishing.

In Plati, our armed escorts from the formidable Italian special forces unit known as The Cacciatori (Hunters) told us that to build one underground network the mob bosses had dug up the town's main street.

As nonchalantly as if they were the town council. And nobody said a word.

But the overriding impression I got from spending so long in so many mafia bunkers was of the miserable absurdity of the lives the bosses lead.

All that money, all that power, all the fear and loyalty they inspire.

Yet none of the sacred images or gaudy furnishings they put in their bunkers can disguise the fact that, in the end, they are forced to live like rats - an existence barely better than the prison cells that await them.

John Dickie presents This World: The Mafia's Secret Bunkers on Wednesday 1 May on BBC2 at 21:00 BST and later on the
BBC iPlayer. He is also a professor of Italian studies at University College London

Find out more

John Dickie presents This World: The Mafia's Secret Bunkers on Wednesday 1 May on BBC2 at 21:00 BST and later on the BBC iPlayer.

This World: The Mafia's Secret Bunkers

This World

The Mafia's Secret Bunkers

Italy's most powerful organised crime group is no longer Sicily's Cosa Nostra but the 'Ndrangheta', a shadowy Mafia from the southern region of Calabria.

With unique access to the extraordinary underground bunkers the gangsters use for hiding out and to the hi-tech war being fought by the Italian authorities against this murderous criminal brotherhood, author and mafia historian John Dickie uncovers the truth about Europe's biggest cocaine traffickers.

This is a world of special forces, spy planes and super grasses, as well as a culture of fear and silence where people simply do not trust the Italian state to defeat the Mafiosi.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01s94zv


The Australian Immigration Department raised the alarm, fearing the illegal movement of members of the ‘ndrangheta and 
requiring clear criminal records to enter the country 
(ITENETs, 2007). Neither
Calabrians nor Sicilians enjoyed a good reputation and their entry into the countrywas not very welcome (ITENETs, 2007; Sgro `, 2000). However, the number of people already settled made it possible to preserve and keep the Calabrian community intact in the following years. Since the 1980s, in any case, the Australian authorities could not ignore the fact thatthe criminal clans of Calabrian origin were becoming a social phenomenon deeplyrooted in some areas of the country. In 1981, the Australian Bureau of CriminalIntelligence (ABCI) was already aware of the presence of the ‘ndrangheta in the country.According to the ABCI, Australia was divided into six areas by the Calabrian mafia, each of which had its own leader (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). The number is not accidental: it is the same number found in Canada or in Basilicata, where with the contribution of the ‘ndrangheta has recently grown the fifth Italian mafia, called the Basilischi (Sergi,2012b). Every independent sub-group of the ‘ndrangheta is always made up of six cells,because traditionally the seventh is always meant to be in Calabria. Seven units are, in fact, in Calabria (Ciconte, 2011; DNA, 2012). According to the ABCI, in the early 1980’sGiuseppe Carbone was the boss in South Australia, Domenico Alvaro in New South Wales, Pasquale Alvaro in Canberra, Peter Callipari in Gri
th, Giuseppe Alvaro inAdelaide and Pasquale Barbaro in Melbourne (Sergi, 2012a). The situation is likely to have remained unchanged today, at least in terms of areas of influence. For example, in May 2012, Barbaro was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the organisation devoted to the importation of drugs from Italy. This event brought the ‘ndrangheta to the forefront in the news, but it also shows how the history of the organisation is still very influential. According to Italian prosecutor Vincenzo Macrı ` (2012) the knowledge of the clans and the phenomenon in the 1980s and the 1990s was more specific andfocused than it is today.In 1987, the federal National Crime Authority (NCA) sought the authority of Italianexperts to investigate a secret society of Calabrian origin, known by various names,including the name ‘ndrangheta, already used in Calabria (Ciconte & Macrı `,2009).The Italian police sent Chief Nicola Calipari to Australia for a period of threemonths to ascertain whether the presence of Calabrian migrants in Australia constituted a mafia-style threat on Australian soil. Calipari’s report, published on 2 May 1988 – and released entirely for the Italian audience only in the book by Ciconte and Macrı ` in 2009 – refers to a ‘Grith Group’ and confirms the presence of Calabrian mafia clans mainlyengaging in drug-tracking. Two codes of rituals of the ‘ndrangheta, onefound atDomenico Nirta’s house in Giralang, on the outskirts of Canberra, and anotherseized in December 1987 from Ra aele Alvaro in Adelaide, were analysed, interpretedand reconstructed by the Australian authorities. The two codes closely resemble othercodes found in Calabria, are handwritten and, most likely, orally transmitted, whichwould explain the linguistic errors and archaic vocabulary (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009;Sergi, 2012a). The Calipari Report reveals that the first code was found during asecret ritual among 12 men who were about to celebrate the initiation ceremony of one or more ‘picciotti’ (youngest members awaiting full aliation). Nirta’s code istitled the ‘Rituale di Sgarro’ (Ritual of Misdeed) while Alvaro’s one is titled ‘Ritualedi Camorra’ (Ritual of Extortion). Even though full of linguistic mistakes, the texts are still comprehensible and show many similarities with aliation codes found in Calabria(Spagnolo, 2010).

A focus on the activities

Analysis of the organisation’s criminal activities, derived mainly from the CalipariReport, shows the organisation engaged in the cultivation and tracking of cannabis,ecstasy and cocaine, extortion, tax evasion, insurance fraud, illegal gambling, and – although rarely – murder (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). As Calabria and in other placeswhere the ‘ndrangheta has moved, the first stage of the criminal penetration is theattempt to monopolise the drug market, while investments in other activities and interestin politics represent a second, more sophisticated, level (Ciconte, 2011). Violence mayalso follow, usually in the form of ‘‘excellent murders’’

 – premeditated assassinations of key individuals (Barbagli & Gutti, 2002). An example of an ‘excellent murder’ is that of Bruce Donald MacKay, 44, a member of the Liberal Party in Grith, who was killed in July 1977 because its press campaign against drug production in the country was diected against families who had emigrated from the Ionian coast of the province of Reggio Calabria (McCoy, 1980; Minuti & Nicaso, 1994), and for his role in the arrest of four people accused of drug-tracking, three of whom had emigrated from Calabria(Sergi, 2012a). The Calipari report in 1988 confirms the links between the families oGrith and this murder (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). Robert Trimboli, a boss who hademigrated from Platı ` and who had never severed the ties with mafia clans in the countryof origin, was charged with the murder. Born in 1931 in Platı `, he had spent his childhoodin his parents’ farm not far from Grith. Considered the king of drug-tracking hehad been the one who forcefully introduced the ‘ndrangheta into the drug business   (Small & Gilling, 2009). ‘For investigators all over the world he was the real brain of drugtracking in the continent’ (Sergi, 1991). Extremely rich and powerful enough to travelon a yacht provocatively named ‘Cannabis’, Trimboli, immediately after his trial, man-aged to flee to Spain where he died in 1987. The people investigated in the trial were alloriginally from Platı `: bosses and members of the clans Sergi, Barbaro and Trimboli whohad established large illegal plantations of marijuana in the spacious, lush regions of Australia (Sergi, 1991). By financing the purchase of lands with the proceeds of kidnap-ping, in the 1980s, the ‘ndrangheta controlled illegal plantations in Grith, Michelagoand Yerlarbin ‘capable of delivering profits estimated at around 60 million dollars per year (Sergi, 1991, p. 85). New South Wales had been turned into a huge mafia corporation.Following the MacKay murder, the murder of Colin Winchester in 1989 changedforever the perception of Calabrian immigrants (Kennedy, 2000). Colin Winchester,Deputy Chief of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), was murdered outside his homein Canberra. He had been involved in a delicate investigation aimed at mapping of land purchased by mafia families of Platı ` (Gratteri & Nicaso, 2009); after his death 188cannabis plantations were discovered precisely on lands owned by Calabrians.Campbell, Toohey, and Pinwill (1992, p. 228) reported claims by authorities linking the Winchester murder to criminal syndicates of Calabrian origin:

‘This particular murder has all of the hallmarks of what happens in Italy and in the US where criminals execute judges as well as top law enforcement ocers to coerce them into submission’..

(Small & Gilling, 2009). ‘

For investigators all over the world he was the real brain of drug tracking in the continent’ (Sergi, 1991). Extremely rich and powerful enough to travel on a yacht provocatively named ‘Cannabis’, Trimboli, immediately after his trial, man-aged to flee to Spain where he died in 1987. The people investigated in the trial were all originally from Platı `: bosses and members of the clans Sergi, Barbaro and Trimboli whohad established large illegal plantations of marijuana in the spacious, lush regions of Australia (Sergi, 1991). By financing the purchase of lands with the proceeds of kidnap-ping, in the 1980s, the ‘ndrangheta controlled illegal plantations in Grith, Michelagoand Yerlarbin ‘ capable of delivering profits estimated at around 60 million dollars per year (Sergi, 1991, p. 85). New South Wales had been turned into a huge mafia corporation.

Following the MacKay murder, the murder of Colin Winchester in 1989 changed forever the perception of Calabrian immigrants (Kennedy, 2000). Colin Winchester,Deputy Chief of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), was murdered outside his home
in Canberra. He had been involved in a delicate investigation aimed at mapping of land purchased by mafia families of Platı
 ` (Gratteri & Nicaso, 2009); after his death 188cannabis plantations were discovered precisely on lands owned by Calabrians.Campbell, Toohey, and Pinwill (1992, p. 228) reported claims by authorities linking the Winchester murder to criminal syndicates of Calabrian origin:

‘This particular murder has all of the hallmarks of what happens in Italy and in the USwhere criminals execute judges as well as top law enforcement ocers to coerce them into submission.’

However, the case has been in the eye of the media for years and has been considered anexample of racism and group polarisation (Campbell, Toohey, & Pinwill, 1992;Kennedy, 2000). Former public servant David Eastman was convicted in 1995 for thismurder, while the mafia hypothesis was, at least formally, abandoned (Jarrett,1995).However, in August 2012 an inquiry on Eastman’s conviction was announced(Waterford, 2013). On 31st May 2014, the inquiry recommended that Eastman’s conviction to be quashed, because of ‘deeply flawed forensic evidence’ (Owens, 2014). The inquiry was welcomed by Anti mafia prosecutor Vincenzo Macrı `, who is convinced thatthe murder was certainly linked to the ‘ndrangheta (Guilliat, 2013; Macrı `, 2012).At the time of the Winchester murder, between the mid-1990s and 2001, several police operations in Italy (Zag, Domino and Decollo) have shed light on the international networks of drugs and criminal activity in Australia and beyond. Operation Siderno Group, in the first half of the decade, showed how the ’ndrangheta operated in the Northern United States and Canada, and also had ties with Australia (mostly for cannabis tracking). Australia, in fact, oers fertile fields and certain availability of cheap labour, as well as less rigorous controls in some areas (Ciconte, 2011).

Operation Zag in the mid-1990s was an investigation led by anti-Mafia prosecutors in Reggio Calabria,which revealed the relationships between criminals and Calabrian partners in Australia involved in money laundering after the export of cocaine from Italy to Australia (Sergi,2012a).

Operation Domino tracked the import of cocaine from Colombia and Turkeyand worked on the assumption that there was a unique organisation from Colombia through Italy towards the rest of the world. Operation Decollo (1991–2001) revealed a
triangular relationship between Colombia, Italy and Australia (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009; Sergi, 2012a).

Members of the ‘ndrangheta had bought from Colombian drug 
tra
ckers between 100 and 800kg of cocaine packaged in blocks of marble and stone,and had sent them to a shipping company in the Calabrian port of Gioia Tauro or to the port of Adelaide.

The investigation also involved shipments of cocaine from Venezuela and Colombia to Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany, and in Togo and Australia.

The trial was held in Italy, but four members of the Australian group (three 
Italian-born and one Australian) were also charged in Australia (Sergi, 2012a).

Also in the 1990s, another murder that presents a strong and organised ‘ndrangheta in 
Australia was the murder of Geo
rey Bowen, National Crime Authority detective.

Georey Bowen, National Crime Authority detective 
was killed in 2 March 1994 by a package that exploded in his o
ce in Adelaide rightafter delivery (Ciconte & Macri, 2009; Madigan, 2013). The day after he was murdered,Bowen was scheduled to testify in a trial against,
 among others, Domenico and 
Francesco Perre, from Platı `
.

The two brothers had been involved in an operation in the Hidden Valley in 1993, leading to the arrest of 13 people after the discovery of 
cannabis plantations (15,000 plants) for a total value of 
over $40 million (Sergi,
2012a). 

Following the murder of Bowen, Dominic Perre was arrested in July 1994,but the investigating authorities failed to prove allegations against him.

To this day the case remains unresolved and is considered one of the most important unsolved cases in the country (Madigan, 2013), which causes cyclical interest from the local 
media.

Most recently, a documentary dedicated to the event, titled ‘Terror at home’was aired by 
Sunday Night
  in July 2012.


Mafia godfather's son in Australian Rome embassy under Amanda Vanstone

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard

JUNE 29 2015

http://www.smh.com.au/national/mafia-godfathers-son-in-australian-rome-embassy-under-amanda-vanstone-20150626-ghydoo

The son of a prominent Mafia godfather was given work experience at the Australian embassy in Rome
 that had the potential to compromise international police operations.

      
   Frank Madafferi, Tony Madafferi's brother,
   was granted a visa after the lobbying of several MPs. 

   Security sources said the work-experience placement was a major security lapse.

   Confidential Italian justice department documents reveal that  in the years before his son's 2010 work placement, the Adelaide-based Mafia godfather
    was under investigation for importing drugs to Australia from Europe.

   The Australian embassy is the conduit for a stream of sensitive information between Italian and Australian authorities about the Mafia's activities.

   Police in Rome had, in late 2007, also tracked the godfather through the city with a local Mafia boss called Francesco Frisina.

   There is no evidence that the embassy placement, which involved the man's son working briefly in a clerical role,
   led to any security breaches, but security sources have described it as a major lapse. 

     A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the son "assisted with managing events and provided administrative support services ...
     [He] did not have access to sensitive information during his internship".

    It is also a further embarrassment for the then ambassador to Italy, Amanda Vanstone, who already faces questions over her decision
   as immigration minister in the Howard government to give a visa to another Mafia boss, Frank Madafferi.

     

      The then Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, granted Frank Madafferi a visa

   Ms Vanstone has said that decision was made on humanitarian grounds about the impact of deportation on Madafferi's family.
   But it came after police warnings Madafferi was a violent criminal who posed a major risk to the community.
    Ms Vanstone's predecessor, Philip Ruddock, had previously ordered Madafferi's deportation because of his lengthy and serious criminal record.

  There is no suggestion Ms Vanstone acted improperly in either case, though confidential police assessments suggest it indicates
  that her South Australian Senate office had   probably been infiltrated by Mafia figures.
 

   Police suggest this occurred under the guise of legitimate activities and without Ms Vanstone's knowledge.

   Mafia figures and their associates "are likely to have ingratiated themselves with her office and that through their legitimate public face
   were capable of achieving influence", according to a 2013 law enforcement assessment held by several state policing agencies.

    Ms Vanstone did not respond to repeated messages sent via email and phone.  

    The revelations are part of a year-long investigation by Fairfax Media and Four Corners into the Calabrian Mafia's Australian operations.

    The Adelaide Mafia godfather cannot be named for legal reasons, but is an associate of several other Mafia figures who have built links
     to both the Liberal and Labor parties.

   Security sources said the work experience placement was a major security lapse, and questioned how the crime figure's son obtained it given
     Australia's National Crime Authority had documented his father's alleged involvement "in the importation of illegal drugs [and] strong links
     with Italian organized crime identities."

     An Italian police file shared with the Australian embassy states the Australian godfather is part of an "Australian sub-group of
     'Ndrangheta [Calabrian mafia] operatives with links to Calabria and also the US and Canada [conducting] activities related to the movement of drugs internationally."



Calabrian mafia groups settled in Canada in the early years of the 20th century. Inthose years, Giuseppe ‘‘Joe’’ Musolino, cousin of the famous Calabrian bandit with the same name (Ciconte, 2011), was active in Toronto at the head of a gang of Mafiosi from the Aspromonte (mountains in the Centre-South of Calabria) devoted to extortion and racketeering (Schneider, 2009).

The more Calabrian communities integrated in the country, the more criminal bonds stretched. Between Toronto and Montreal, the ‘ndranghetahad an autonomous and overwhelming development (Edwards & Auger, 2012). Some mafia bosses are part of the history of crime and their clans are an example of the establishment of the organisational model of the Calabrian ‘ndrine (clans) in lands of emigration.

Particularly notorious was clan of Rocco Zito, considered one of the first patriarchs of the Canadian ‘ndrangheta (Edwards & Auger, 2012; Nicaso & Lamothe,2005).

Also notorious was Rocco Perri, a poor immigrant who had left Platı
 ` (a smalltown in the province of Reggio Calabria and in the heart of the Aspromonte mountains, see Figure 1) at the age of 16. He became the most well-known smuggler in Canada (and had among its clients Al Capone and Joseph Kennedy, father of the future president of the United States) (Edwards & Auger, 2012; Nicaso, 2005).

 He accumulated a fortune 
and died without an heir (Sergi, 2004). 

Vic Crotoni originally from Mammola, and
Paolo Violi, originally from Sinopoli, are both remembered as the heads of the Canadian ‘ndrangheta, in the 1960s and 1970s, respectively (O’Connor, 2011).

Australian  &  New  Zeal and  Journ al  of  Criminolog y

 Calabrians in Australia: Between proletarians and criminals

Australia has always been considered an historical base of the Calabrian ‘honouredsociety’ even without systematic studies on the topic (Abadinsky, 2010). Certainly, inthe 20th century, the village of Platı ` in particular – a stronghold of the Mafia – and in general the province of Reggio Calabria have provided the most substantial share of regional migration to Australia. Until 1940, however, it remained a small minority of the Italian community as a whole. In fact, according to the data from Australian registers analysed by Charles A Price, the migrants from the area of Reggio accounted for only 8% of Italians (Price, 1954). However, since the beginning of the 20th century around70,000 Calabrians have moved to Australia to stay, initially employed as shepherds, miners or farmers (Baggio & Sanfilippo, 2011; Castle, Alcorso, Rando, & Vasta,1992). In addition to Platı `, many small and poor towns of Calabria, like San Lucaand Locri, have provided a constant flow of migrants to Australia.

The group from Calabria is now the largest after the Sicilian one and large communities concentrate in cities such as Midland and Perth and in the suburbs of Balcatta, Stirling and Osborne Park (Rando, 2007).

A few figures – even though largely from secondary data – are enough to give the dimension of migration from Calabria to Australia, which, however, was not alwayssuch a popular destination for Calabrians (Baggio & Sanfilippo, 2011; Castle et al.,1992). From 1876 to 1925, for example, only 1903 Calabrians undertook the trip to the sunny Oceanic shores, of whom 1620 departed from 1919 to 1925, an in significant number in comparison with migration flows towards South and North America in the same years. From 1876 to 1900 only 14 Calabrians reached Australia; 35 in 1901 and 150in 1910. The highest number, 860, arrived in 1922. Because of the uncertain and ambiguous migration policy of the fascist regime (Vernassa, 2003) and the restrictions introduced in the US and Argentina, in 1924 and in 1925 figures were still high: 238 and490, respectively (O’Connor, 1993). In these years the existence of criminal activities of agroup of Calabrians, di usely knows as ‘black hand’, was ascertained, in the Tropic of Capricorn, which had attracted migrants with the opportunity to work in the sugar caneplantations (Harvey, 1948; O’Connor, 1993).Ethnic factors together with the nationalist and corporatist policy implemented bythe fascist diplomatic and consular representatives in the country favoured the ten-dency of new migratory contingents to aggregate (O’Connor, 1993).

The new guide-lines of the fascist government dried up migration flows not only to Australia, where 
Italians su
 ured personal restrictions at the outbreak of World War II. 

In 
Queensland only – where one-third of the total Italian population had settled –

 
2216 immigrants were interned in concentration camps; of these, 602 already hadBritish citizenship, 41 had been born in Australia (Rando, 2005) and many were fromCalabria (ITENETs, 2007).After World War II, thanks to a bilateral agreement for a controlled migrationbetween Italy and Australia, signed in 1951 and renewed three years later, the numberof Italians moving to the country became quantitatively significant. In this period, flowsof migrants and criminals overlapped in a clear and obvious way, at least for Italianauthorities (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). Driven by economic needs, more than 360,000 people migrated from Italy between 1947 and 1976, 280,000 of them seeking permanent employment (Bertelli, 1983; ITENETs, 2007). Australia became one of the main destination countries, with the state of Victoria most favoured. This was not only true for Italian migrants: between 1945 and 1979, 4.8 million immigrants reached Australia,8.5% of which were Italian (Bertelli, 1983; ITENETs, 2007). 

The net balance of 
Calabrian immigrants in Australia has been remarkable. Only between 1959 and 1979 – according to data compiled by Bertelli (1983) – there were 36,675 Calabrians, 26.2% of the total Italian migrants, the highest share among the regions (followed by Sicily, another region very exposed to mafia  influences, with 35,615 people equal to 25% of the total).
In the Calabrian Diaspora in Australia, migration routes became one with the routes
of mafia clans in search of new spaces and markets.

From areas of classical and high density mafia activities, such as Platı
 `, Locri and San Luca (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009) di
erent mafia families have exported their illegal activities to Australia with methods and models similar to those used in Calabria.
By no means did all migrants have links with mafia families. It seems certain, however, that since the 1920s, Calabrians – con
sidered racially inferior and discriminated against because of their brown skin – brought with them elements of their popular culture, some of which are also part of mafia culture (ITENETs, 2007). Every year in Australia, for example, there is a celebration for Our Lady of the Mountain of Polsi. 

For the majority of migrants the festival serves to 
re-a
rm the identity of origin, as rightly pointed out by the Italian–Australian scholarGerardo Papalia (2008), and in this sense it can be seen as one of the many Marian feasts of immigrants from Calabria around the world (Rosoli, 1990).

However, it cannot bedismissed that such a festival also has strong symbolic significance for the clans of the ‘ndrangheta who consider the Madonna of the Mountain their protector. In Polsi, the 
‘ndrangheta holds their annual summit during the festival to regulate the lives and a
airs of the criminal organisation (Ciconte, 2011; DNA, 2012).

The rise of the ’ndrangheta in Australia

The rise of the Calabrian clans in Australia began in the 1920s when the first signs of aviolent battle for control of fruit and vegetable markets in the state of Queensland were recorded (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009; Harvey, 1948). A historical review of the presence of the ’ndrangheta in the country was undertaken in November 1964 by Colin Brown, anAustralian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) agent, leading a committee onItalian organised crime (Minuti & Nicaso, 1994; Spagnolo, 2010). The Brown committeepublished the results of a very intensive investigation in a 147-page report entitled ‘

TheItalian Criminal Society in Australia

’, which was delivered to federal authorities and never made public in its entirety (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). The report indicated that the arrival of the Calabrian ‘

Ndrine  in Australia had a precise date, 18 December 1922, with thearrival of the ship ‘Re d’Italia’ (King of Italy), considered in the report the first carrier of Calabrian criminality to Australia. The records held by the National Archives of Australia do confirm this account: the ship Re d’Italia transported more than 1000people from various locations in Italy, to Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. Amongthose immigrants were also people with links to criminal clans in the country of origin;three of them are considered the founders of the ‘ndrangheta in Australia (Ciconte &Macrı `, 2009; Minuti & Nicaso, 1994). Two of them are known: Antonio Barbaro, whos ettled in the state of Victoria, known as ‘ the toad ’, and Domenico Strano, who settledwith his family in New South Wales where he died in 1965 and received a very sumptuousfuneral. The identity of the third founder is uncertain, even though it is known that heestablished the ‘ locale’ in Perth. The settlement of the Calabrian clans, after the arrival of the ship ‘Red’Italia’, always according to the Brown committee, took place in a few years. The most attractive business, before entering into the drug market, was the fruit and vegetables farmers markets in the state of Queensland, at the time controlled by mafia boss Vincenzo d’Agostino (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009; Harvey, 1948; Spagnolo, 2010).Several criminal episodes  red flags of the presence of Calabrian clans in theterritory – took place from 1928 to 1940 (Harvey, 1948). The area of Ayr, Ingham and Innisfail in northern Queensland, where Calabrian migrants had settled, was the scene of 30 criminal acts including 10 murders attributed to a mafia war whose conten-ders were Calabrian and Sicilian migrants (Harvey, 1948; Spagnolo, 2010). But no onewas really able to understand and interpret those events at the time, which were attributed, as noted by Salvatore Lupo (2008) and picturesquely described by John Harvey(1948), to an organisation called ‘

The Black Hand ’, based also in Canada. News reportsof the time also show some significant events that have ethnic and criminal connotations linked to Calabrians. On 24 December 1925, for example, a group of 8–12 Italians, after a fight in the pool, in Victoria Street, North of Melbourne, faced a policeman, Constable James Clare, who was with two colleagues in civilian clothes. According to the news reported in The Argus newspaper in Melbourne on the 26th of December, Clare diedafter having been stabbed. Accused of the crime was Calabrian immigrant Domenico Condello, who had arrived in Australia three years before. At his court appearance on 19January 1926, Condello was acquitted, claiming that Clare had oended him and his friends without even declaring he was a policeman. The funds necessary for his defence had been collected in the Italian community by the boss Antonio Barbaro (Ciconte &Macrı `, 2009; Macrı `, 2012).

The ‘ndrangheta in those years was establishing new ‘locali ’. Letters found in theh ouse of Domenico Belle in 1930 revealed to the police that Antonio Brando was the leader of a clan in Melbourne. Brando wrote that the mere fact of being born in Platı `was, in his view, more than enough to assert his authority (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). Twoyears later, on 20 January, Rocco Trimarchi was killed in Grith; he was listed as one of the first bosses of the city in a report by John T Cusack, supervisor of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who arrived in Australia to give advice to investigators together with Italian police commissioner Ugo Macera, who had previously worked in Calabria (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009).


The Brown committee had also investigated other names of the Calabrian clans: for 
example, Joseph Roller, boss in Mildura, who died in 1964 with his two sons taking over the leadership of the clan, and Domenico Alvaro, known as ‘Mr. Lenin’, who was bornin Calabria in 1910 and who became the boss of a clan in Sydney in 1960 after the death of Ra
 aele Mafrici (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009). The clans of the ‘ndrangheta, in short, had spread across Australia together with migrants and controlled various licit and illicit businesses. It is important to clarify that, according to the Italian Antimafia Prosecutors(DNA, 2012), Australia, together with Canada and the North of Italy represents todayone of the three known ‘branches’ of the ‘ndrangheta outside Calabria. According to the DNA there is in fact an ‘Australian Crimine’,headquarters of the ‘ndrangheta in Australia, which preserves the unity and the coordination of the organisation far from Italy.

The ‘Australian Crimine’ does not allow the organisation to fall apart.

When, for example, Vincenzo Angiletta attempted to fill the gap of power left after the death of Domenico  Italiano – boss of Melbourne known as ‘The Pope’ who died in 1962, – the Australian Crimine ordered his murder in 1963 to avoid the proliferation of ‘bastard’ clans (Spagnolo, 2010).

The coordinating structure, in fact, does not allow open and blatant violation of the rules: it is prohibited – as confirmed in the latest report of the National Anti-Mafia Directorate (DNA, 2012, p. 124) for a similar recent case
. . .
 that, after breaking or cracking the relationships with his locale and the ‘‘Australian Crimine’’, a member, could ever get the chance to open a new ‘locale’ in Australia and become independent from the context, by seeking support from other authoritative members…..

Interestingly, in the second half of the sixties, when migration essentially stopped, the regeneration of existing mafia clans with new recruits from Italy also stopped. Accordingto Italian authorities, when Calabrian migration headed to European countries and th eNorth of Italy (Ciconte, 2010, 2013), the Australian ‘ndrangheta, already formed, continued to provide a perfect anchor for criminal activities away from the motherland and under the supervision of the  Australian Crimine.

The growth of the Australian ’ndrangheta

Often compared to the famous ‘Five Families’ of New York are the ‘seven families’ of Adelaide, the clans Sergi, Barbaro, Trimboli, Romeo, Nirta, Alvaro, and Perre, whichare based in South Australia, but with branches throughout the country. The ‘sevencells’ have been repeatedly linked to the ‘ndrine in Calabria (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009; Macrı `, 2012). Similarly, families like Arena, Muratore, Benvenuto, and Condello.Medici, Musitano, Pochi, Pelle, Polimeni and Agresta, among others, exercise their control in the rural areas (Ciconte & Macrı `, 2009; DNA, 2012). Their presence datesback to the early 1950s. In October 1951, a severe flood hit Platı ` causing 18 deaths, ‘whenthe river Ciancio came, furious out of water, from the throat of Aspromonte, [and] tookaway two-thirds of the poor households’ (Sergi, 1994).

The village back then comprised7200 inhabitants of whom 5000 eventually chose to pack and leave (Ciconte & Macrı
 `,2009). The escalation of the local clans and the migration to Australia of many a
liates of the ’ndrangheta, from Platı ` and nearby villages, disguised among peasants, workers,skilled craftsmen and enterprising merchants, ‘driven away by age-old poverty and natural  plagues’ (Sergi, 1989), dates back to that event (Manfredi, 1993).

Calabrian migrants 
were in search of better living conditions legally or illegally obtained. New South Wales became the Promised Land. The presence of so many immigrants coming from the area of Platı ` even led to the founding of a town called New Platı ` (near Fairfield), west of Sydney (Veltri & Laudati, 2009).Thanks to the flood in Calabria, the Australian ’ndrangheta experienced its economic boom (L’Europeo, 1988) and the peak of its colonisation process in the fifties.

At the 
same time, the Australian groups also played a big role in the growth of the clans inCalabria. In Gri
th, for example, the ‘ndrangheta laundered the money from the kidnappings that, especially in the 1980s, have been the major activities for the clans of the triangle Platı `-San Luca-Careri (Ciconte, 2011). 


Political donations wide open to Mafia corruption

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard

JUNE 29 2015

http://www.theage.com.au/national/political-donations-wide-open-to-mafia-corruption-20150626-ghycxk

Political donations wide open to Mafia corruption

Mafia in Australia - Drugs, Murder and Politics

The mafia continues to flourish in Australia despite major police operations, as this joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation reveals.

    

In March 2008, alleged mafia boss Tony Madafferi met three mafia drug traffickers in Flagstaff Gardens, Melbourne. The trio - Pat Barbaro, Tony Di Pietro and Saverio Zirilli - organised the world's biggest ecstasy shipment into Australia in 2007 (circled left). Liberal party photos reveal Madafferi meeting John Howard and other Liberal figures, including Robert Doyle, at various fundraisers (circled right).

The Calabrian Mafia has infiltrated Australian politics at both state and federal levels by ingratiating itself with individual party donors and members of Parliament, according to confidential police reports.

Mafia in Australia - Drugs, Murder and Politics

The mafia continues to flourish in Australia despite major police operations, as this joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation reveals.

The reports also detail "loopholes" in the political donation system, and say the long-running failure by government to reform it exposes Australian politicians to "potential corruption".

The violent and powerful group known as the Honoured Society, which has extended its networks from Italy and across the world, has gained access to the very highest office bearers in Australia. In one case, a lobbying and donations campaign was aimed at securing a visa for a crime boss later jailed for drug trafficking and implicated in a murder plot. 

A year-long Fairfax Media-Four Corners investigation can also reveal that:

  • A man who police believe is a senior Mafia boss and alleged hitman met then prime minister John Howard and other top Liberal Party figures at various fundraising events.
  • The son of another Mafia godfather did work experience at the Australian embassy in Rome while former Liberal minister Amanda Vanstone was ambassador. Previously, authorities were passing through the embassy sensitive information about a Mafia drug-trafficking operation.
  • Mafia-linked donors have lobbied a host of Liberal and Labor figures involved in local, state and federal government over issues of interest to their legitimate and non-legitimate businesses.

In 2013, police circulated a report among state police agencies revealing that the Calabrian Mafia, also known as 'Ndrangheta, had used a number of well-known party donors to put a "legitimate public face" on its push to help obtain an Australian visa for violent crime boss Frank Madafferi.

The report warned that alleged Mafia figures had used various methods to enter "the social and professional world of public officials and through legitimate processes [were able to] achieve influence".

      

   A man who police believe is a Mafia boss and alleged hitman met
    then prime minister John Howard and other top Liberal Party figures at fundraising events. 
An earlier police report about the visa lobbying said that: "To ensure maximum [political] coverage ... numerous people made approaches to two senators, three federal members of parliament and one state member of parliament ... Donations to the Liberal party were also made by these lobbyists."

Madafferi's visa application was subsequently approved by then immigration minister Amanda Vanstone. Two years later, he was implicated in the world's biggest ecstasy importation and was later charged with murder and convicted for drug trafficking.



MPs targeted in that campaign, now Small Business Minister Bruce Billson,
 admitted to the contact with a Mafia-linked donor,
 but told Fairfax Media the man had "deceived" him.

"The request made of me for assistance … was a contrived veneer covering a far darker and disturbing situation," Mr Billson told Fairfax Media.


Then immigration minister, Amanda Vanstone, granted Frank Madafferi a visa


 it stands, political parties and candidates can "receive significant support and financial contributions through avenues not covered by the statutory disclosure regime", the police report says.

"Loopholes" in the oversight system mean it is "difficult to identify any bribery in the form of political donations".

"The Australian Electoral Commission have attempted to address this on many occasions, however many amendments have not been passed by Federal Parliament," the AFP report said.

The report, obtained under freedom of information laws, was written after an investigation into the Mafia's fundraising activities. 

The Calabrian Mafia is one of the world's most powerful crime groups. It differs from the Sicilian Mafia, or Cosa Nostra, which is best known in the United States.

However, both organisations work in similar ways, using threats and violence in both legitimate businesses, such as fruit and vegetables, and illegitimate businesses such as drugs. They both also use money to curry favour with public officials including politicians and police.

The Calabrian Mafia's reach into Australian society was detailed in a highly confidential 2003 National Crime Authority report which also describes the "involvement of Italian Organised Crime figures in … peripheral fundraising activities for political parties".

A search of hundreds of photos from Liberal fundraisers from the early 2000s captures one of the alleged Mafia crime figures and donors named in police files, Tony Madafferi - brother of Frank - meeting John Howard. Melbourne lord mayor and former Victorian state Liberal leader Robert Doyle also appears in photographs with Tony Madafferi. 


Tony Madafferi denies any wrongdoing, and has never been charged with an offence, but has been named repeatedly in court proceedings as an alleged organised crime figure with deep ties to Mafia figures and drug traffickers.

He has been named as a violent Mafia figure by witnesses in two coronial inquests, but denied the allegations and was not subject to adverse findings.

Neither Mr Doyle nor Mr Howard knew of Tony Madafferi's links to organised crime.

However, a number of other Liberal and Labor figures, including MPs, have gone further than just meeting Tony Madafferi – they have made representations or lobbied on his behalf, or that of his close associates, after meeting alleged Mafia figures at fundraisers.

Victorian MP Russell Broadbent, who did not respond to repeated attempts to contact him, is among Liberal figures who has attended fundraisers with Tony Madafferi after public warnings about his criminal connections.

Mr Broadbent, Mr Billson and NSW senator Marise Payne attended a 2004 fundraiser organised by Tony Madafferi after meeting political donors linked to him. 

A spokesperson for Ms Payne said she "had no knowledge, or any cause to be aware of, any criminal associations" of any figures she dealt with in connection to the Madafferi family's visa lobbying.       

Mr Broadbent, Mr Billson and Senator Payne are three among a number of MPs who contacted the immigration minister Amanda Vanstone in 2003 or 2004 as part of a push to get an Australian visa for Frank Madafferi on the basis that his detention and deportation would impact on his family.

In 2000, Frank Madafferi had been ordered to leave Australia by then immigration minister Philip Ruddock on the basis of his serious criminal past and after police warned he would posed a danger to the community.

But in November 2005, after the campaign of donations, lobbying and legal action, Frank Madafferi was granted a visa by Senator Vanstone on what she said were humanitarian grounds not connected to any lobbying or donations. Ms Vanstone did not respond to repeated efforts to contact her.

Less than two years after the visa was granted, Frank Madafferi was implicated in the world's biggest ecstasy importation.

Policing officials who assessed the visa case said in a 2013 report: "There is no suggestion that Vanstone acted corruptly… [but] members of the Italian community, including 'Ndrangheta members and their families and associates, are likely to have ingratiated themselves with her office. 

"This case study highlights the insidious ways 'Ndrangheta [mafia] Transnational Australian Group enter the social of professional world of public officials and through legitimate processes achieve influence." 

Since 2007, Labor has made several attempts to change the electoral funding disclosure to make it more transparent, but has it has been repeatedly blocked by the Liberal Party.

MARCH OF THE MAFIA IN AUSTRALIA

1922: Three members arrive in Adelaide on the Re D'Italia. They set up cells in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Antonio Barbara established the Melbourne cell. The 'Ndrangheta began with rural-based industries, such as fruit and vegetables.

1930: Domenico Italiano arrives in Melbourne and enters into a partnership with Antonia Barbara, making Melbourne the largest Australian cell. Italiano later becomes Godfather.

1928-1940: 10 homicides and 30 bombings attributed to the Society in Queensland as part of sugar cane extortion racket. Mafia also diversifies into drugs and other organised crime.

1962: Melbourne godfather Domenico "The Pope" Italiano and his enforcer, Antonio "The Toad" Barbara, both die of natural causes. Power vacuum sparks a war, called the "Market Wars" for control of Victoria Market.

1963-4: Contestants for control, Vincenzo Angilletta and Vincenzo Muratore, are killed. Victoria Market stallholder Liborio Benvenuto takes over as Godfather in Melbourne.

1977: Anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay murdered in Griffith, the centre of Australia's marijuana growing industry. Woodward Royal Commission established. 

1981: Griffith drug lord Robert Trimbole identified as a suspect in Donald Mackay's murder. He flees to the United States, then France and Ireland, where a court refused to deport him.

1985: Robert Trimbole dies of natural causes in hospital in Spain

1989: AFP Assistant Commissioner Colin Winchester shot dead in his car in Canberra. 

1990: The Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence concludes that Winchester was killed because of his operation against a Bungendore mafia drug syndicate.

1990: Market magnate Frank Costa stares down the mafia and takes over the Coles and later Woolworths fruit and vegetable contracts. 

1995: David Eastman is sentenced to life for killing Winchester. The conviction is quashed in 2014.

2000: Mafia scion Frank Madafferi has his Australian visa rejected by immigration minister Philip Ruddock.

2005: Immigration minister Amanda Vanstone overturns the decision on Francesco Madafferi.

2007: World's biggest ecstasy bust, with $440 million (4.4 tonnes) of the drug imported in tomato cans from Calabria.

Watch the Four Corners-Fairfax Media exposé on ABC at 8.30 tonight.


  The Mafia in Australia: Drugs, Murder and Politics

                                                                  http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2015/06/29/4261876.htm

                                                                  By Nick McKenzie, Clay Hichens and Klaus Toft  June 30, 2015

                                                                           

                                                                                                        The Mafia in Australia

                   THE MAFIA IN AUSTRALIA: A SPECIAL TWO PART INVESTIGATION ON FOUR CORNERS

Part One: Drugs, Murder and Politics

Monday 29 June 2015

It's one of the most secretive and powerful organised crime syndicates in the world, run by violent, ruthless criminals who make a fortune out of the drug trade.

It's the Italian mafia. And it's operating right here in Australia, right now.

In this joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation, more than a year in the making, we reveal how the mafia continues to flourish in Australia despite major police operations.

"I'm going to pull his f-ckin' head off. I'm going to eat him alive. Tell him that he can go get his f-ckin' coffin." Telephone intercept of an Australian mafia boss

Reporter Nick McKenzie travelled to Italy to uncover the family and business connections between the Italian mafia and their Australian associates. A top anti-mafia prosecutor says they are "recreating a Little Italy in Australia".

Here in Australia our investigations reveal how the mafia has infiltrated Australian politics at the highest levels by cultivating people in positions of power.

"This is a case study of what's wrong with the system." Anti-corruption fighter

THE MAFIA IN AUSTRALIA: DRUGS, MURDER AND POLITICS, reported by Nick McKenzie and presented by Kerry O'Brien, goes to air on Monday 29th of June at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 30th at 10.00am and Wednesday 1st July at midnight. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

Transcript

So they said, "No, no, don't worry, this is a kidnapping for money. We don't want to hurt you or kill you. This is a kidnapping for extortion, to get money."

Monday 29 June 2015

The Mafia in Australia Part 1: Drugs, Murder and Politics

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Tonight on Four Corners: drugs, murder and political influence, the Italian mafia alive and flourishing in Australia.

ANNA SERGI, DR., UNI. OF WEST LONDON: The 'Ndrangheta has built its reputation on violence in order to keep the intimidation and to keep the fear and to keep the, the social control.

NICK MCKENZIE, REPORTER (to Frank Costa): How corrupt was the system?

FRANK COSTA, CHAIRMAN, COSTA GROUP: It was rotten to the core.

CLIVE SMALL, FMR ASST. COMMISSIONER, NSW POLICE: I can't believe our politicians are so dopey. I find that sort of extremely difficulty to understand: how they could be so nae.

KERRY O'BRIEN: The Italian mafia has a long and infamous history in Australia. Remember the Griffith marijuana network, the drug lord Robert Trimbole, the murder of anti-drugs campaigner Donald McKay.

That may all seem like ancient history but what we will show you tonight and again next week is that in the decades since then, the so-called "honoured society", 'Ndrangheta, headquartered in Calabria in southern Italy, has built a massive operation in Australia, bringing in huge quantities of drugs and infiltrating mainstream Australian politics.

Tonight's investigation will take you inside long-running police surveillance operations to dramatically uncover just how brutal, ruthless and deeply imbedded the "honoured society" of 'Ndrangheta here really is.

We were informed on Thursday that lawyers for one of the principal people featured in tonight's story, Melbourne businessman Tony Madafferi, would be seeking a court order to stop the program going to air.

That didn't eventuate.

Reporter Nick McKenzie travelled to Calabria for this joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media expos

NICK MCKENZIE, REPORTER: July 2008. In the heart of Melbourne a group of men embark on a deadly mission: to kill a fellow criminal.

They work for one of the most secretive and powerful mafia organisations in the world, unaware that police are watching their every move.

MATT WARREN, DET. SUPT., AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE: We became aware that they were in possession of, ah, of, handguns; of firearms, ah, which gave us rise for concern. Ah, and it became very clear to us that they were, ah, allegedly embarking on, ah, on a mission to go and, and do someone some significant harm.

They were going to kill someone: that was, that's certainly, ah, the allegation.

NICK MCKENZIE: Among the conspirators was Frank Madafferi, a suburban greengrocer with a reputation as a violent underworld figure.

Police phone taps recorded him threatening another criminal over a drug deal.

FRANK MADAFFERI (phone conversation; translation): I'm going to pull his f****n' head off. I'm going to eat him alive. Tell him that he can go get his f****n' coffin, get it f****n' ready because I'm going to go there with a f****n' 4WD and f****n' get him and f****n' take it away.

MATT WARREN: Well, certainly he was regarded with, with a degree of trepidation, with fear, um, with respect. Um, he was, ah... His reputation for violence obviously had been established,

NICK MCKENZIE: Detective Superintendent Matt Warren and his Federal Police team had accidentally stumbled across the murder plot as part of a top-secret organised crime investigation.

They faced a terrible dilemma as they watched events unfold. The police would have to intervene to prevent any killing, but that would force them out of the shadows, blowing many months of painstaking surveillance work.

MATT WARREN: Myself and the team had been living and breathing this, ah, this investigation for months. Um, and so for, ah, for that to, to come unstuck at that point, um, would've been devastating: really, almost heartbreaking, ah, for the team and I, really.

(Footage from AFP surveillance video)

NICK MCKENZIE: The would-be hit men never completed their journey.

AFP SURVEILLANCE TEAM MEMBER: Yeah, I'm getting all this on video.

Constantly and it looks like they've attached the, um, jumper leads to both vehicles.

NICK MCKENZIE: Their car broke down and they re-grouped, still unaware that Federal Police were shadowing them.

The surveillance was part of much bigger operation, which would ultimately expose the Calabrian mafia's powerful Australian network.

It began a year earlier, when police made a massive discovery on Melbourne's docks.

(To Matt Warren): Did you have any idea how big the importation would be?

MATT WARREN: Not at all. Um, in fact, um, it was a, a surprise to everyone as we unpacked the container: just the volume of, ah, of drugs we were looking at.

NICK MCKENZIE: Police had uncovered the world's biggest ecstasy shipment: more than four tonnes of the drug hidden in a container of canned tomatoes that arrived from Italy in June 2007.

ANDREA PAVLEKA, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, COMMONWEALTH DPP: The quantities of drugs were enormous. Ah, the amounts of money that were, ah, at stake were enormous. Ah, it, it painted a picture of, um, a well organised group, ah, with international connections.

MATT WARREN: None of us expected that we'd be on for the next, um, you know, 13 or 14 months of, of hard slog, ah, investigating, you know, an, an enormous organised crime enterprise.

(Footage of Matt Warren showing Nick McKenzie a corkboard of photographs of suspects)

MATT WARREN: Then, ah, you start to see the whole thing coming together...

NICK MCKENZIE: Police focussed their surveillance on the man they suspected had brokered the massive drug shipment: Pasquale 'Pat' Barbaro.

(Footage from AFP surveillance video)

POLICE SURVEILLANCE TEAM MEMBER: About to lose 'em, Ernie.

NICK MCKENZIE: Police suspected Barbaro was a member of a feared and highly secretive international mafia syndicate, known as the 'Ndrangheta or "honoured society."

POLICE SURVEILLANCE TEAM MEMBER: Now we've got Pat out, wearing the green T-shirt.

NICK MCKENZIE: For months, police secretly filmed Pat Barbaro meeting associates in restaurants, parks and fruit shops in Melbourne - and even at a farm near his home town of Griffith in western New South Wales.

MATT WARREN: Certainly what we saw with Pat Barbaro was that he was the point man, ah, for the Australian end. He was the one, ah, who was actively involved in talking to the syndicates overseas, in meeting with them.

NICK MCKENZIE: Of all his criminal associates, it soon became clear that Pat Barbaro treated suburban greengrocer Frank Madafferi with an unusual degree of respect.

One tapped telephone conversation revealed that Frank Madafferi saw himself as the group's Melbourne boss.

FRANK MADAFFERI (phone conversation; translation): Don't f**k around too much with me, understand? You think f****n' Melbourne is f****n' yours? Is not f****n' yours, understand? Ah? I'm f****n' responsible for f****n' Melbourne. Melbourne is mine and doesn't belong to Pasquale.

MATT WARREN: I think it shows that, that in his mind, um, he was the number one 'Ndrangheta figure in Melbourne; that, that, ah, it was his patch, it was his turf, and that, um, whilst Barbaro was able to operate there, ah, in relation to what he was doing, it had to be with his permission, ah, and with his, ah, his knowledge. So I think unquestionably he viewed Melbourne as his patch.

NICK MCKENZIE: As the surveillance continued, other men came into view.

This is Frank Madafferi's elder brother, Tony. Tony Madafferi is a multi-millionaire businessman who part owns a national chain of pizza restaurants, as well as several fruit and vegetable shops around Melbourne.

(To Matt Warren) Is it fair to say that Tony Madafferi was deeply connected to these organised crime figures?

MATT WARREN: Well, certainly he's a very strong associate, absolutely.

NICK MCKENZIE: On a weekend in March 2008, police were watching when Tony Madafferi met Pat Barbaro and two other drug traffickers in Melbourne's Flagstaff Gardens.

It's never been established that Tony Madafferi is involved in drug trafficking, but his meetings with drug importers aroused police suspicion.

(To Matt Warren) Tony Madafferi appears throughout the court allegations as somebody the group consistently sought to meet with in private, in Crown Casino or in the villa of the Flagstaff Gardens. What was his role throughout the operation:

MATT WARREN: We would say that, that he was an interested party.

NICK MCKENZIE: Many of the men being tailed by the Federal Police had begun their careers here: at Melbourne's Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market. Police discovered some of their targets would meet at the market to have private discussions.

MATT WARREN: They're able to conduct meetings, ah, with very little chance of the police being able to intercept those, ah, conversations in that very busy market environment. So it allows them, ah, a) access to other members of the group whereby, um, it's, it's mixed in with normal, normal activity.

I mean, these people, ah, are continuing to run successful farming operations so, um, their attendance at the market may not in fact be on, ah, any particular occasional criminal; on other occasions it will be.

NICK MCKENZIE: For decades, the 'Ndrangheta controlled the market through a cartel that monopolised the sale of produce through bribery and extortion.

(Excerpt from ABC News bulletin, Jan. 1964)

REPORTER (ABC TV News, 1964): Neighbours I have spoken to today tell me that they heard two shots at about 2:30 in the morning.

NICK MCKENZIE (voiceover): The 'Ndrangheta's secretive market cartel only became public when power struggles within their ranks sparked outbreaks of murder and violence.

REPORTER (ABC TV News, May 1983): The explosion occurred just after 6 o'clock this morning, during a busy trading time at the Wholesale Market...

NICK MCKENZIE (voiceover): In 1983, the car of the undisputed Melbourne godfather, Liborio Benvenuto, was bombed in the market car park.

REPORTER (ABC TV News, May 1983): ...when the explosion occurred.

LIBORIO BENVENUTO (ABC TV News, May 1983): Might be the petrol tank.

REPORTER: You don't think somebody put a bomb in your car?

LIBORIO BENVENUTO: No. No. Because I never got no enemy.

REPORTER: You've never been involved in any trouble here at the markets?

LIBORIO BENVENUTO: No, never in my life. Never.

NICK MCKENZIE: A top-secret National Crime Authority report obtained by Four Corners found that the violence was "connected with the alleged secret commission and extortion schemes which were operating at the markets".

(To Frank Costa) This group was the so-called "honoured society"?

FRANK COSTA, CHAIRMAN, COSTA GROUP: Well, that's what they might have called them. I never used that expression and we didn't, our company never used that expression. We just used the expression: they're bunch of ruthless merchants.

NICK MCKENZIE: How corrupt was the system?

FRANK COSTA: It was rotten to the core.

NICK MCKENZIE: Fruit and vegetable wholesale king Frank Costa saw the cartel in action.

FRANK COSTA: What was happening was that they had the buyers of certain products - major lines, I think, by then - in their pocket. And those buyers would give them the order regardless and it would get through quality control regardless and they would receive weekly - I think it was mostly weekly, it might have been monthly in some cases, but mostly weekly - a brown paper bag.

So he might just get 100 boxes of something at whatever and then he'd give him 50 cents a box, 50 bucks at the end of the week. That would grow to $1,000, grow to $2,000. And the guy's got hooked, absolutely hooked. And once you're hooked you're gone and you sell your soul to the devil - well, you become a devil.

NICK MCKENZIE: In the late 1980s, Frank Costa agreed to a request by the supermarket chains to confront these schemes and end the market cartel.

Before long, he received a chilling message from a Calabrian wholesaler.

FRANK COSTA: "I've been sent to speak to you from so and so who came and approached me this morning at the market with two offers. Your choice, Frank," he said. Um, "You can have $1 million cash now - and it will be all cash and you can get that same repeat every 12 months if you let the buying go back to its original, ah, process, right? And if you don't want, that you can have the other offer which is a bullet for you:" That was me.

NICK MCKENZIE: Frank Costa stood his ground with an audacious bluff.

FRANK COSTA: And I said, "Really?" I said, "That's very nice of him." I said, "You go back and tell that bastard tomorrow - and don't soften at all - that if one hair of the head of any our family is touched in any way, double that will happen to his family immediately."

NICK MCKENZIE: Frank Costa remembers Tony Madafferi as a key market figure but says Madafferi never threatened him.

But later, as a new wave of violence erupted at the markets, Tony Madafferi would face serious accusations at two separate inquests.

REPORTER (ABC News, June 1993): Of the many startling allegations made during the 10-day inquiry, probably the most shocking was that Tony Madafferi, a Glen Waverly greengrocer, was the honoured society's executioner.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 1991 greengrocer Tony Peluso was killed outside his home in Glen Waverley after a price war with rival grocers.

A year later another fruiterer, Alfonse Muratore, was also shot dead.

At the coronial inquests into these unsolved murders, Tony Madafferi strongly denied claims by witnesses that he was a mafia enforcer.

REPORTER (ABC TV News, April 1995): Detective Sergeant Chris Enright told the inquest police had evidence Mr Peluso was threatened by rival businessman Tony Madafferi a week before the shooting. The threat included a warning that if Peluso wasn't careful, he would be killed. His son, Gaetano Peluso, heard Madafferi say, "Be careful. I'll get you. If you don't, I will kill you."

NICK MCKENZIE: Murder victim Alfonse Muratore's girlfriend told the coroner that Muratore was convinced Tony Madafferi had killed Peluso. She also said Muratore told her Tony Madafferi was a man to be greatly feared.

KAREN MANSFIELD (ABC TV News, June 1993): I know that, in my heart, Fonse is on the stand with me all the time. He's there with me, all the time. And I'm speaking for him and, ah, I'm gonna stop speaking for him until the day I die, if it needs to be. I want the truth known. I, I really want the truth known.

NICK MCKENZIE: No adverse coronial finding was made against Tony Madafferi and he was never charged with any crime.

He denied any wrongdoing, telling police he was simply "a man who is very respected at the market."

Tony Madafferi's lawyer dismissed the claims against him as baseless hearsay.

LAWYER (archive): He is devastated. He's, ah, ah, totally shocked by the allegations that were made. His family has suffered enormously. His business has suffered and, ah, he is very concerned to attempt to clear his name.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 1995, the National Crime Authority completed the biggest mafia inquiry in decades, codenamed Cerberus.

Four Corners has obtained the confidential Cerberus report, which was never publicly released.

CERBERUS REPORT EXTRACT (voiceover): Antonio Madafferi has been named by three sources as being a member of the honoured society. Membership of a secret society must be considered as highly probable."

NICK MCKENZIE: The origins of this secret society lie on the other side of the world.

Calabria, at the southern tip of the Italian mainland, is the birthplace and traditional stronghold of one of the world's most feared mafia organisations, the 'nrandgheta or "honoured society".

Behind the picture postcard scenery is a dark history of violence, fear and secrecy.

ANNA SERGI, DR., UNI. OF WEST LONDON: The 'Ndrangheta has built its reputation on violence, especially in the 70s, 80s and 90s, so right at the beginning of its empire of drugs, in order to keep the intimidation and to keep the fear and to keep the, the social control.

NICK MCKENZIE: Fighting the mafia here is a risky business.

In order to meet one of the top anti-mafia prosecutors, we are escorted by his armed security detail who must protect him from assassination around the clock.

Roberto Di Palma says the Calabrian mafia has built a powerful base in Australia.

(Nick McKenzie meets Roberto Di Palma, shaking hands)

ROBERTO DI PALMA, ANTI-MAFIA PROSECUTOR: Nice to meet you and you're welcome.

NICK MCKENZIE: Thank you.

ROBERTO DI PALMA (translation): The Calabrian 'Ndrangheta's ties with Australia are strong, but that shouldn't shock us. Because by now we find the 'Ndrangheta occupying a global dimension. The influx of Italian migrants in Australia has been very historically significant. And what better situation for recreating a Little Italy in Australia with the same dynamics, both virtuous and depraved?

NICK MCKENZIE: The Calabrians entrusted the world's biggest shipment of ecstasy to the Australians: 15 million pills. What does that say about the essence of the relationship?

ROBERTO DI PALMA (translation): The discovery of such a large and important shipment of ecstasy, one that the Calabrians had entrusted to the Australians, proves that a criminal organisation exists in Australia: a professional organization that works adeptly in the drug trade.

NICK MCKENZIE: At Calabria's container port, Italian police regularly seize massive hauls of cocaine, bound for markets in Europe and Australia. But it's just a fraction of the 'Ndrangheta's lucrative global trade.

ROBERTO DI PALMA (translation): Today we can say with certainty that the 'Ndrangheta is the most powerful force in the world when it comes to international drug trafficking, namely cocaine.

NICK MCKENZIE: The birthplace of the Calabrian mafia is in the foothills of the rugged Aspromonte mountains.

Here, the mafia remains all-powerful.

ANNA SERGI: There is the cult of honour, meaning that if you, if you break the secrecy code, obviously someone has to do something about you. So if you... yeah, you, you should be killed.

NICK MCKENZIE: Calabrian-born mafia expert Dr Anna Sergi is our guide as we travel to the tiny mountain village of Oppido Mamertina. It's a notorious 'Ndrangheta stronghold. It's also the ancestral home and birthplace of Frank and Tony Madafferi, the brothers who would later attract so much police attention in Australia.

(To Anna Sergi) Would Frank Madafferi still have strong connections to the town?

ANNA SERGI: Yeah, that's absolutely expected. That's the one thing that always been clear to the authorities in Italy, in Calabrian reggio: is that for the Australian organisation of Calabrian origin to exist, there has to be an approval from here.

NICK MCKENZIE: You don't have to look far to see evidence of links to Australia.

Tony Madafferi left here as a teenager, but Frank stayed behind to establish his criminal reputation.

ANNA SERGI: Francesco Madafferi started his career - his criminal career - very young from what we see from his record. We see someone involved in violent acts.

NICK MCKENZIE: This is the area where Frank Madafferi was blooded as a young mafia soldier. Aged just 19, he was caught by police acting as a bagman in a violent extortion scheme. The scheme involved blowing up the house of the victim and demanding a huge pay-off. Frank Madafferi was caught when he came to pick up the cash.

The traditional code of silence which protected the mafia for centuries remains entrenched here.

(To Anna Sergi) What happens to informers: those who speak out against the Calabrian mafia here in these villages?

ANNA SERGI: The most common thing that can happen is that someone refuses to pay the protection tax, the racket, extortion tax. They attempt to send a message across that if you mess with them, if you refuse to pay, then they either burn your shop or they, they make life, life unbearable for your relatives. They make impo- make it impossible to find a job for your son or daughter. Some of them even ended up dead.

So these rules still apply but we have less and less, um, visibility of killings, um, because they-they-they don't need that. I mean, they don't need publicity. They don't need - they are strong enough without it. They can... There are various ways of killing someone, I would say.

NICK MCKENZIE (To Pantaleone Sergi): So it's, it's over here where the young girl was taken?

PANTALEONE SERGI, JOURNALIST (translation): This is the house of the Mittica family. It is here that on the 28th November 1986 that Angela Mittica was kidnapped. She was 25 at the time.

NICK MCKENZIE: Pantaleone Sergi is a journalist and former mayor of a nearby town.

He takes us to the site of a notorious crime linked to Frank Madafferi: the kidnapping of a local politician's daughter.

(Footage of newsreader covering Angela Mittica's kidnapping, Italian TV)

NICK MCKENZIE: Angela Mittica's kidnapping became big news in Italy as one of a spate of high-profile mafia crimes.

(Footage of Nick McKenzie in car)

NICK MCKENZIE: We have just been told that Angela Mittica might be willing to talk to us. Now, if she goes on camera, it would be an extraordinarily brave move. Most people here are still terrified about speaking openly about the mafia.

(To Angela Mittica) Did you lose track of time...

NICK MCKENZIE (voiceover): At a discreet location, Angela agrees to tell us her story. it's the first time in 28 years she's spoken publicly about her ordeal.

ANGELA MITTICA (translation): I was afraid, terribly afraid because I had no idea what was happening to me.



NICK MCKENZIE: Angela Mittica would spend almost five months held captive in a cave hidden among the rugged mountains that surround the town.

Her captors wore balaclavas at all times so she would not be able to identify them.

ANGELA MITTICA (translation): The conditions were really bad. I was chained. The chain was attached to my wrist and ankle and tied to several logs. The cave I was in had a very low ceiling. In fact, I couldn't stand up. Inside there was just some kind of foam mattress on top of some firewood. Only when they came by would they unchain me for a little while.

NICK MCKENZIE: As the search for Angela Mittica continued, local police arrested more than a dozen suspects.

One of them was Frank Madafferi.

(To Pantaleone Sergi) Why did police arrest Francesco Madafferi?

PANTALEONE SERGI (translation): Frank Madafferi was arrested in the first phase of the investigation, when there was pressure from police and magistrates, because they wanted answers about this kidnappings.

Frank Madafferi was already known among the police because of his several priors. For this reason, the investigation focussed on this tight-knit group he was a member of.

His role in the group was uncertain. But law enforcement officials believed, and the magistrate confirmed, that he was a part of the gang that kidnapped Angela Mittica.

(Footage of Nick McKenzie and Pantaleone Sergi walking through Calabrian forest clearing)

NICK MCKENZIE: What do you think Francesco Madafferi was willing to...

NICK MCKENZIE (voiceover): Pantaleone Sergi reported on the kidnapping for a major Italian newspaper.

(To Pantaleone Sergi) So is this where Angela Mittica was kept?

The cave she was kept in was back behind here somewhere. They were moving her from one hiding place to another when the Carabinieri caught them.

They exchanged fire. They nearly shot Angela. She said, "No, no, I'm Angela Mittica." So they saved her.

(Footage of newsreader covering Angela Mittica's return, Italian TV)

NICK MCKENZIE: After enduring 130 days in captivity, Angela Mittica was finally reunited with her loved ones.

ANGELA MITTICA (translation): I think that was the most beautiful day of my life. The feeling was indescribable. To know this experience was behind me, to be out of that cave and that ordeal and to get my life back. It might seem silly, but to be able to take a shower and to shampoo my hair. To see my friends, my fiancand my family.

NICK MCKENZIE: Despite his arrest, Italian police were never able to gather enough evidence to charge Frank Madafferi over the kidnapping of Angela Mittica. But they did have the evidence to charge him with a litany of other serious crimes throughout the 1980s.

He was convicted and sentenced to multiple jail terms for extortion, mafia conspiracy and two separate stabbings, as well as drug and gun possession.

ANNA SERGI: He was arrested and sentenced for stabbing. He was also involved in, in a kidnapping case. He was involved in, um... he was suspected of an attempted murder - voluntary attempted murder - and he was, he was sentenced twice for extortion. This tells us, ah, considering the area he is from, that he was trying to make a name for his- for himself. He was trying to show someone that he- he could be trusted to carry out certain work.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 1989 with police again circling him, this time over a prison stabbing and receiving stolen goods, Frank Madafferi fled Calabria.

He arrived in Melbourne, lied about his criminal record, and was given a six-month tourist visa.

MATT WARREN: Well, certainly, um, clearly he served an apprenticeship and a fairly violent one, ah, in Italy, before he came to Australia. Um, there were outstanding warrants for his arrest, ah, in Italy when he arrived in Australia, which he didn't declare.

NICK MCKENZIE: In Melbourne, Frank Madafferi began working in the fruit and vegetable trade, where his brother Tony was already well established.

The violence at the wholesale markets was continuing.

Before long, both Frank and Tony Madafferi were at the centre of criminal investigations, with police making explosive allegations in a statement later aired in court and fiercely denied by the pair.

COURT STATEMENT (voiceover): Antonio Madafferi has involvement in a substantial number of crimes, including murder, gunshot wounding and arson.

Frank Madafferi, if allowed to remain in Australia, will continue to carry out acts of violence on behalf of a criminal syndicate.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 1996, Australian authorities moved to have Frank Madafferi deported after finally discovering he was an illegal migrant with a lengthy record of violent crime back in Italy.

Philip Ruddock was immigration minister at the time.

PHILIP RUDDOCK, IMMIGRATION MINISTER 1996-2003: I do have a view that in relation to serious criminal records, um, that people may have, that they should be taken into account, um, as to whether or not they're able to settle in Australia. And, um, my first, um, presumption is: um, we don't take other people's criminals.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 2000, Ruddock ruled that Frank Madafferi should be deported back to Italy.

PHILIP RUDDOCK: If you have a person who comes and, ah, I think in this matter, um, marries an Australia and then seeks to stay, um, and there is a serious criminal record, um, in my view, um, that should be taken into account. And, ah, the view that I formed, ah, was that, ah, um, on the basis of the criminal record, um, he should be deported.

NICK MCKENZIE: Desperate to keep Frank Madafferi in Australia, his family headed to court. During one hearing, a judge was told that Australian police suspected Frank and his brother Tony were part of a crime family allegedly involved in murder, arson and extortion.

The brothers denied this and one judge said the police view could not be relied on as it was based on unnamed informers. But ultimately the deportation order was upheld. And so the Madafferis embarked on plan B.

By this time Tony Madafferi was a wealthy businessman, cultivating political links. Among the Madafferi family supporters were several major political donors, such as Sydney furniture king Nick Scali.

Liberal Party sources have confirmed that, in October 2001, Scali organised a meeting between Tony Madafferi and a NSW Liberal Party figure associated with a fundraising vehicle called the Millennium Forum.

GEOFFREY WATSON SC, COUNSEL ASSISTING, NSW ICAC: When you look at the Millennium Forum website or the way in which it organises functions, the idea is that you would be a donor of a particular value and that would get you so much access, whether at dinners or fundraising events of different kinds. It's access in return for a donation.

NICK MCKENZIE: It's all about getting the ear of a politician?

GEOFFREY WATSON: Exactly: and nothing else.

GEOFFREY WATSON (ICAC): Part of the purpose of the public inquiry will be attem- to attempt to determine whether or not that innocent explanation should be accepted.

NICK MCKENZIE: As the counsel assisting the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, Geoffrey Watson recently investigated the Millennium Forum.

GEOFFREY WATSON: On how many occasions would you see it that a donation was quickly followed by a request to meet a politician? Then ask yourself: why is somebody requesting a meeting with a politician? It's not just to get to know them. It's to influence them as to their decision making. Of course there's a connection.

NICK MCKENZIE: The Liberal Party figure involved in the Millennium Forum arranged a meeting with immigration minister Philip Ruddock.

Nick Scali arrived at Ruddock's office, accompanied by the Madafferi family's lawyer who had flown up from Melbourne.

(To Philip Ruddock) Were you surprised that a legal representative of the Madafferi family was sitting in your office?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, look, I wasn't aware of it. Um, I'd agreed to see a community representative who wanted to put a view.

NICK MCKENZIE: Liberal Party sources have told Four Corners Philip Ruddock was furious when he realised he was hosting Frank and Tony Madafferi's legal adviser.

The meeting was cut short as Ruddock rejected the pleas made on Frank Madafferi's behalf.

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Some people wanted to put another view. I was prepared to hear it but given what I've said to you, ah, criminal records are serious issues, um, and, ah, I came to a view in exercising my discretion, ah, that I would not, ah, waive, ah, the, ah, ah, the deportation: um, that it should proceed.

GEOFFREY WATSON: Oh, I'll say this about Phillip Ruddock: you may not agree with his politics but he's a man of integrity. And he acted there as I thought he would and he should. But the fact is that his actions showed that he recognised immediately that there was something wrong with receiving these solicitations from the Madafferis.

(Footage of Amanda Vanstone sworn in by Governor-General Peter Hollingworth)

AMANDA VANSTONE, IMMIGRATION MINISTER 2003-7: I, Amanda Eloise Vanstone, do swear that I will well and truly serve the people of Australia in the office of Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.

NICK MCKENZIE: In late 2003, Amanda Vanstone replaced Phillip Ruddock as immigration minister.

Tony Madafferi now called on the help of another prominent businessman and political donor to lobby the new minister to have Frank Madafferi's impending deportation overturned.

The donor they turned to was Pasquale "Pat" Sergi. Pat Sergi is a property developer with a reputation for charity work.

In 1979 the Woodward royal commission concluded he had been buying and selling real estate using money provided by mafia drug traffickers.

CLIVE SMALL, FMR ASST. COMMISSIONER, NSW POLICE: Woodward found that it was essentially a money laundering operation. It was quite substantial and certainly by today's standards, we're talking millions and millions of dollars.

NICK MCKENZIE: What does that say about Pat Sergi's closeness to the mafia?

CLIVE SMALL: Well, they wouldn't have been giving Pat Sergi cash and allowing him to invest it unless he was an extremely trusted person.

NICK MCKENZIE: The Madafferi brothers and their supporters launched a full-blown political lobbying campaign.

Pat Sergi approached NSW Liberal senator Marise Payne. Other donors lobbied Victorian Liberal MP Russell Broadbent, as well as his colleague, Bruce Billson.

In the lead-up to the 2004 election, Tony Madafferi organised a political fundraiser in Melbourne attended by all three Liberal parliamentarians. Each of them had previously contacted immigration minister Amanda Vanstone about the impending deportation.

The guest speaker at the fundraiser was Amanda Vanstone.

On the evening, Tony Madafferi personally donated $15,000 to the Liberal Party's Millennium Forum.

GEOFFREY WATSON: This is a case study of what's wrong with the system. Well, it's seriously wrong. Ah, the point is that, for no better reason, for no better reason than the making of donations to a political party, specific representations were able to be put to amongst the most powerful politicians in the land - access which you and I couldn't get, except if we made substantial donations ourselves.

By 2004 Tony Madafferi was a regular at Liberal Party fundraisers, including this function with then Victorian Opposition leader and now Melbourne Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle.

NICK MCKENZIE: Searching through hundreds of photos from fundraising events, Four Corners discovered Tony Madafferi even meeting then prime minister John Howard.

In November 2005, after years spent lobbying, Frank Madafferi finally got the break he was looking for: Amanda Vanstone intervened in the case and overturned the deportation order.

Amanda Vanstone has not responded to repeated attempts to contact her and all the MPs involved in the lobbying declined to be interviewed.

But they have maintained their intervention in the case was based on humanitarian concerns about the impact of the deportation on Madafferi's family.

Senior officials who worked on the Madafferi visa case have told Four Corners the decision to overturn Ruddock's deportation order was appalling, as it exposed the community to harm.

(To Philip Ruddock) Do you stand by your decision that you made as a minister in the Francesco Madafferi case?

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Look, I wouldn't be here talking to you if I didn't, um, believe, um, that weighing up all of the issues that were before me at that time that it was the appropriate decision.

NICK MCKENZIE (to Matt Warren): Should Frank Madafferi have been given a visa?

MATT WARREN: Well, that's not really a question for me to answer. Um, however, on the basis of, ah, of the fact that he had significant criminal convictions, ah, certainly he's not someone that, that we would recommend would be given a visa to, to reside in Australia, for sure.

NICK MCKENZIE: Four Corners can reveal that a secret multi-agency police report found the Madafferi visa case highlighted "the insidious ways" the mafia "enter the social or professional world of public officials and through legitimate processes achieve influence."

MULTI-AGENCY POLICE REPORT (voiceover): There is no suggestion that Vanstone acted corruptly; rather, that members of the Italian community, including 'Ndrangheta members and their families and associates, are likely to have ingratiated themselves with her office and that, through their legitimate public face, were capable of achieving influence.

CLIVE SMALL: The Calabrian mafia doesn't give anything away. Any cent they spend, ah, is because they expect two cents back. Now, in this case what they were doing were making an investment in political connections to, to try and build up pressure to have it overturned.

NICK MCKENZIE: After winning his battle to stay in Australia, Frank Madafferi embarked on the boldest chapter yet in his criminal career.

In 2007, he was under fresh investigation: this time for his links to the world's biggest ecstasy importation.

Police were listening in as he threatened his underworld rivals.

FRANK MADAFFERI (phone conversation; translation): Tell him I want the profit! It's not f****n' his! Or I'm going to bite his throat. I swear on my Mum, I send them to get him, bring him in the car, and I'll f****n' tear him to pieces.

NICK MCKENZIE: Detective Superintendent Matt Warren was convinced that Frank Madafferi was part of the syndicate responsible for the massive ecstasy shipment.

But catching him and his accomplices would not be easy and would involve a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game between police and one of the most dangerous mafia groups in the world.

(End of part 1)

KERRY O'BRIEN: Senator Marise Payne and MP Bruce Billson declined to be interviewed for the program. Senator Payne said in a statement that, when she made representations to the then immigration minister in relation to Frank Madafferi, she had no knowledge of the criminal associations of any party she dealt with.

Bruce Billson told us he was deceived about Madafferi's criminal background and was "bitterly disappointed about it."

Amanda Vanstone and Russell Broadbent did not reply to our requests for comment.

Next week we'll bring you part two of this important expos which reveals the inside story on the world's biggest ecstasy bust; the next crop of mafia leaders in Australia; and Frank Madafferi's Labor connection.

We'll leave you with a taste of what's to come.

Until next Monday, good night.

(Preview of next week's program)

CLIVE SMALL: The Calabrian mafia in Australia is the longest-running crime organisation we've ever had.

ANNOUNCER: A new generation of godfathers...

MATT WARREN: Organised crime figures will try and cultivate people of all walks of life but particularly people with influence.

ANNA SERGI: The links are there. The links are tight and they are based on blood ties.

ANNOUNCER: ...and how they're taking care of business in Australia.

MATT WARREN: These groups are very difficult to defeat. They regroup, they rebound, the reorganise and they'll continue to, because it's their business.

ANNOUNCER: Four Corners, next Monday.

(Preview ends)

END

So they said, "No, no, don't worry, this is a kidnapping for money. We don't want to hurt you or kill you. This is a kidnapping for extortion, to get money."

Responses

RESPONSES

 

Senator Marise Payne - The Minister for Human Services, Senator Marise Payne, declined an interview with Four Corners in relation to the report, and sent the following response. [pdf]

http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/201506/r1442813_20905513.pdf

 

RESPONSE TO FOUR CORNERS ‘THE MAFIA IN AUSTRALIA: DRUGS, MURDER & POLITICS’

 The Minister for Human Services, Senator Marise Payne, declined an interview with Four Corners in relation to the report, and sent the following response.

Senator Marise Payne

As you are aware, the Senator has previously responded to enquiries and has fully co-operated with official investigations regarding this matter.

As such, she will not be participating in an interview. The Senator made representations to the then Immigration minister in relation to the impact of the individual’s detention on his family, following a request from constituents she met when attending a charity dinner in an official capacity in 2003. Senator Payne had no knowledge, or any cause to be aware of, any criminal associations in relation to those constituents at the time.

As previously reported the AFP completed an enquiry into this matter in 2009 and no further action was taken.

The Senator rejects any suggestion or inference of inappropriate action as highly offensive, defamatory and completely untrue. Henry Budd Media Adviser Office of Senator the Hon Marise Payne Minister for Human Services

 

 

 

MP Bruce Billson - The Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson, declined an interview with Four Corners in relation to the report, and sent the following response. [pdf]

 

http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/201506/r1442801_20905313.pdf

 

RESPONSE TO FOUR CORNERS ‘THE MAFIA IN AUSTRALIA: DRUGS, MURDER & POLITICS’

 The Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson, declined an interview with Four Corners in relation to the report, and sent the following response.

 Bruce Billson MP

The representations I made on behalf of family members urged a resolution to a long ongoing matter. At no time did my representations extend beyond seeking to help aggrieved dependent family members nor did they in any way represent any form of character reference for Madafferi. I took steps which sought to verify informat