Italian police seize $2.6B in mafia assets

  • 09/07/2015

Italian authorities have seized assets worth more than 1.6 billion euros (NZ$2.6 billion) from a family of five Sicilian pensioners believed to have links to a prominent mafia clan, investigators said.

The operation by the Palermo-based court was aimed at "known entrepreneurs from the Palermo area who belong to the Marineo mafia family, linked to the Corleone clan," the anti-mafia department (DIA) said on Wednesday.

The businesses, property and bank accounts seized belong to Carmelo Virga, 66, his brothers Vincenzo, 78, and 71-year-old Francesco, and their sisters Anna, 76, and Rosa, 68.

"Complex investigations have uncovered how the Virgas have benefited from the backing of the Cosa Nostra in the bidding for these works and public tenders in the construction sector," the DIA said.

Rai News reported that the family were all occasional farm workers in the 1980s before becoming millionaires.