Unmasking the Mafia of the French Riviera

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A book published earlier this month by Mediapart contributor Hélène Constanty, entitled Razzia sur la Riviera, focuses upon the hidden side of the Côte d’Azur region of south-east France, detailing the corruption, criminality and excesses behind the exotic image of the sun-soaked Riviera. One chapter deals with a problem that many in France ignore, namely the deep-rooted presence in the region of the Italian Mafia. The phenomenon is increasingly worrying Italian anti-Mafia investigators, in particular because they consider that the extent of the problem is insufficiently recognised by the French judiciary and police. Mediapart publishes here translated extracts from Constanty’s book detailing examples of the presence of the Italian crime syndicates, and in which Italy’s most senior anti-Mafia prosecutor, Franco Roberti, warns: “France doesn’t measure the gravity of the problem.”

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Many in France imagine that Italian Mafia organisations are contained within their national boundaries, a little like the claims of the French authorities in 1986 who pretended that the radioactive cloud from the meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear plant had miraculously never crossed over French skies.