One of the largest organised crime trials in Italian history began on Wednesday against the “ndrangheta organised crime syndicate.
More than 500 defendants will face charges which include murder, drug trafficking, extortion and money laundering.
A high security 3,000 square metre courtroom, with cages for defendants, has been built for the occasion in the southern region of Calabria, which is where the mob organisation operates.
‘Ndrangheta is said to be the world’s richest criminal organisation due to its international drug trade. It is also present in other countries besides Italy.
Almost all of the defendants were arrested in December 2019 after a lengthy investigation.
The trial is expected to last at least a year and likely longer, featuring more than 900 prosecution witnesses and an unprecedented number of collaborators. There are 600 lawyers working on the case.
The investigation targeted the Mancuso family, which forms a powerful section of the sprawling mafia. The son of one of the mob bosses is set to testify.
“I think it’s the first time that the son of a boss has decided to turn against his father in ‘ndrangheta and he’s the pivotal testimony for this trial,” said University of Oxford professor Federico Varese.