Eight mafia villas seized in Rome

PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Italian police on Tuesday confiscated eight luxury villas, illegally built in Rome by its most infamous and entrenched mafia clan, in raids involving 600 policemen. The properties, filled with gilded mirrors, marble sculptures of animals and extravagant, regal furniture, were built by the Casamonica mobsters. The villas will be demolished by the end of the year, said Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi, who watched the dawn raids. After years of operating in the shadows, the family leapt to public attention with a lavish funeral for one of its godfathers in 2015. A helicopter dropped rose petals on mourners while posters, strung on the railings of a city basilica, read: "You have conquered Rome, now conquer paradise."

The Casamonica family has been associated with crime in the south-eastern quarters of Rome for several decades, but the high-profile funeral sparked a fierce backlash, with politicians demanding a comprehensive legal assault on the clan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2018, with the headline 'Eight mafia villas seized in Rome'. Print Edition | Subscribe