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Opinion
Rachel Sanderson

Beware Italy’s ‘Mafia Entrepreneurs’

Organized crime is expanding its reach by taking control of struggling businesses.

"The Wall of Legality" in Palermo representing personalities who died fighting the mafia.

"The Wall of Legality" in Palermo representing personalities who died fighting the mafia.

Photographer: Stefano Montesi - Corbis/Getty Images Europe

The economic and social crisis that’s driving support for Italy’s hard right ahead of the Sept. 25 elections is making the euro zone’s third-largest economy vulnerable to even deeper infiltration by organized crime.

In a speech in May, one of his last before the collapse of his government, now-caretaker Prime Minister Mario Draghi warned that organized crime had “assumed new but equally fearful forms.” Beyond violence — and the threat of violence — “organized crime has insinuated itself into the boards of companies,” he said. “They pollute the economic fabric from the real estate sector to wholesale supply chains.”