By Jess McHugh
Rome is losing a continuing battle with the Italian mafia, Italy's anti-corruption chief said Thursday, as reported by European news outlet the Local. Often referred to as the mafia or the mob, organized crime rings in Italy continue to be involved in violence and corruption, especially within local governments in Rome, anti-corruption chief Raffaele Cantone said Wednesday.
Despite purges of city officials mired in controversy, the Roman anti-corruption minister said the city needed to work together in challenging the mafia. "In Rome we are doing everything we can, but what is lacking is the cooperation of all parts of the city's administration," Cantone said Wednesday, as reported by the Local.
The Italian mob has enjoyed a visible and lucrative presence in the country and throughout many parts of the globe for decades, becoming a subject of fascination for dozens of books and movies. The illegal organization was thrust into the spotlight little over a year ago, in December 2014, when a widespread corruption scandal based in Rome was revealed by investigators.
The investigation found that Rome city hall officials had contracted mobsters in a series of public works projects, leading to the arrests of 36 people. The city officials and businessmen involved in the scandal are set to go on trial in November.
Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino, pictured in April, resigned in October amid an ongoing expense scandal. AFP/Getty Images
A fresh wave of controversy struck the Italian capital after Roman mayor Ignazio Marino resigned two weeks ago following accusations of abuse of city funds. Local authorities accused Marino of spending upwards of 20,000 euros on lavish personal dinners.
Public support for the former mayor of Rome had been waning for months, as the cash-strapped city continued to suffer from its debt and public works projects that had yet to be completed. Marino sparked more outrage in August after a well-known former mob boss was given a lavish funeral, his coffin paraded through the streets of Rome.
Marino denied having given the family of the deceased permission to do so, but the incident helped turn public opinion against the embroiled mayor. Milan has "become the country's moral capital, while Rome has shown itself not to have the necessary antibodies" to fight against organized crime, said Cantone.