Organized crime in Italy is undergoing a "strategic transformation" by seeking to reduce the use of intimidation and violence in favor of "soft power," a senior MP said on Tuesday, an Italian national news agency reported.
Ansa quoted Giuseppe Pisanu, head of the parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission, as saying that the mafia's ultimate objective was to create an alternative to the government through control of the economy and finance, facilitated by its ability to corrupt politics.
He said politics was a "key channel" for laundering its vast illegal wealth into the legal economy.
"We know how it accumulates this wealth but we know very little about where it goes and how it is invested," Pisanu said.
He said that by using the south as its base, criminal organizations "have expanded to central and northern Italy and to parts of Europe, constantly growing more powerful."
He said that although Italy had embarked on the right path in confiscating the mafia's assets, "the seven billion euros in assets seized so far may be a considerable sum but is a pittance considering organized crime's annual turnover of 120-140 billion euros".
Pisanu stressed that mafia groups had responded by "shifting their investments abroad or into the stock market and finance where it is difficult to track them down."
ROME, March 2 (RIA Novosti)