HomeFitnessEurospin, set to open in Malta, investigated for mafia links in Italy

Eurospin, set to open in Malta, investigated for mafia links in Italy

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Italian low-cost supermarket chain Eurospin, which is set to open its first location in Malta, has been linked as a facilitator to the ‘Ndrangheta, a southern-Italian mafia clan which stands accused of various illicit operations worldwide, according to the Reggio Calabria court.

The Prevention Measures section of the Court of Reggio Calabria found “A stable relationship of objective facilitation between the exercise of economic activities… of Eurospin Sicilia S.P.A. and exponents of the ‘Ndrangheta or subjects colluded with it”.

A court decree for further investigation into Eurospin’s “latest financial statements and the organizational and management model” has been issued as a preventative measure following an initial “planning” investigation last year.

A report by IlFattoQuotidiano showed how that investigation found that the ‘Ndrangheta was facilitated, “culpably”, to infiltrate Eurospin’s commercial expansion “by entrusting the execution of building works… to the company ‘Leg Srl’ which… emerged to be managed by Giampiero Gangemi, the reference entrepreneur of the ‘Ndrangheta”.

The decree for the year-long preventative investigation said that “It appears evident that the commercial activity of Eurospin Sicilia… has been strongly conditioned by mafia interference, through Gangemi, an entrepreneur close to the ‘Ndrangheta, especially the De Stefano clan”.

The first of Eurospin’s supermarkets in Malta was approved last week.

Last Thursday, the Planning Authority approved a 2020 application by Eurospin Italia S.P.A., the parent company to the Eurospin Sicilia S.P.A. under investigation, for the construction of the first of a dozen planned supermarket locations in Malta. Eurospin’s Sicilian branch will likely oversee operations in Malta.

The supermarket will be located at the corner of Aldo Moro Road and Triq Il-Labour, Marsa, just off the Marsa-Ħamrun junction at the former Salv Bezzina & Sons Ltd. shipyard. It will include a two-storey, 11m high main building, covering 1,400 sqm of the 7,600 sqm area, and parking spaces for 150 cars.

The location forms part of an area zoned for “offices and showrooms”, yet the Planning Authority case officer argued that the supermarket is deemed acceptable considering the area’s zoning “encourages commercial activity”.

The site set to be the location of the first Eurospin supermarket is the former Salv Bezzina & Sons Shipyard in Marsa – Photo: Planning Authority.

Ranier Bezzina, the director of Salv. Bezzina and Sons Ltd., the company formerly at the premises, is known to have close ties with disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, along with Hibernians FC team manager Jesmond ‘Il-Hutch’ Abela, who until last year had been appointed by former minister Konrad Mizzi to a Projects Malta job, where he was drawing a government salary while being on sick leave for a year.

On Saturday, The Shift also reported an international investigation on another Maltese connection to the southern-Italian mafia, with ‘Ndrangheta members making use of encrypted phones and communications systems provided by  Maltese-registered company No.1BC.

The ‘Ndrangheta stands accused of various international illicit operations, which include South American cocaine smuggling, weapons smuggling out of Pakistan and laundering illegal proceeds within Europe, according to Europol.

                           

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