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Italy: 270 million euros illegal waste ring dismantled

Christian Fernsby |
Soldiers of the Guardia di Finanza of Turin are executing, as part of the "FERROMAT" operation, a precautionary custody order issued by the Judge for the preliminary investigations of the local Court against 33 people suspected of belonging to the accusatory hypothesis, to 3 distinct criminal associations aimed at the illicit trafficking of metal waste and the issuance and use of documents certifying non-existent operations.

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Topics: ITALY   

Over 50 searches are underway against individuals and companies, as well as the preventive seizure of 8 companies operating in the sector of trading in scrap metal and assets for over 270 million euros, including financial resources, properties, vehicles and company shares.

The activity arises from the seizure, by another Police Force on the occasion of a roadside check in February 2018, of cash charged to 2 subjects of Italian nationality, one of which is the owner of a sole proprietorship operating in the sector of the scrap trade.

The subsequent investigations, coordinated by the Turin Public Prosecutor's Office - District Anti-Mafia Directorate (investigation already coordinated by the prosecutor Dr. Giuseppe Riccaboni) and conducted by the financiers of the Turin Economic-Financial Police Unit, through bank investigations, in-depth analysis of dozens of transaction reports suspects, telephone and telematic wiretapping, positioning of vehicle cameras and GPS, acquisition of video recordings at post offices, have made it possible to acquire seriously indicative elements, in the accusatory hypothesis, of the existence of criminal groups, active since 2015 and still operating, even abroad.

According to EU regulations, in order for metal scrap to not qualify as "waste", the producer must draw up and transmit a "declaration of conformity" at each sale, in order to allow, at any time, the identification of the origin of the scrap and, therefore, the traceability of the same.

In the hypothesis of the accusation, the suspects would have prepared false fiscal and administrative documentation for the sole purpose of "regularizing" large quantities of waste destined for "user" capital companies, based in Piedmont and Lombardy.

In particular, the real origin of the waste would have been hidden (and, therefore, the correct traceability of the production, recovery and disposal chain), through "filter" companies and / or individual "paper mills" companies (located also in Germany) and with the support of a dense network of “nominees”.

In the investigative hypothesis, the illicit organizations, thanks to this false documentation, could therefore have introduced into the regular trade of ferrous scrap (so-called end of waste) metal waste purchased illegally and lacking the compliance and traceability requirements provided for by European legislation.

The false documentation would also have allowed the entrepreneurs-end users of the material to deduct “black” costs, thus also configuring tax crimes.

In the hypothesis of the accusation, continuous and frenetic withdrawals of money carried out by the owners of the "paper mills" from national post offices and foreign intermediaries, where it was easier to find the cash in a short period of time, allowed the return of the same in the availability of the companies " users ”, net of the 5-8% fee withheld by the organization.

The false documentation would also have allowed the entrepreneurs-end users of the material to deduct “black” costs, thus also configuring tax crimes.

In the hypothesis of the accusation, continuous and frenetic withdrawals of money carried out by the owners of the "paper mills" from national post offices and foreign intermediaries, where it was easier to find the cash in a short period of time, allowed the return of the same in the availability of the companies " users ”, net of the 5-8% fee withheld by the organization.

The false documentation would also have allowed the entrepreneurs-end users of the material to deduct “black” costs, thus also configuring tax crimes.

In the hypothesis of the accusation, continuous and frenetic withdrawals of money carried out by the owners of the "paper mills" from national post offices and foreign intermediaries, where it was easier to find the cash in a short period of time, allowed the return of the same in the availability of the companies " users ”, net of the 5-8% fee withheld by the organization.

To this end, the interception activities clearly showed the use of a cryptic and coded language, known and shared among the interlocutors. Without prejudice to the presumption of innocence until responsibility has been ascertained, the results of the investigations, in the accusatory hypothesis, have highlighted a proven, profitable and still fully operational illicit mechanism managed by criminal organizations in violation of rules set up to protect the environment and the community.

Operations involve about 300 soldiers belonging to 21 Corps in the territories of the regions of Piedmont (provinces of Turin, Alessandria and Cuneo), Lombardy (provinces of Milan, Bergamo and Monza-Brianza), Liguria (province of Savona), Friuli Venezia Giulia (province of Udine), Tuscany (province of Pisa).


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