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Italian police seize 1.6bn euros in assets from mafia family

Italian security forces stand guard outside the anti-mafia headquarters in Rome, on May 7, 2015/AFP

Italian security forces stand guard outside the anti-mafia headquarters in Rome, on May 7, 2015/AFP

ROME, Jul 8 – Italian authorities said Wednesday they had seized assets worth more than 1.6 billion euros (Sh176bn) from a family of five Sicilian pensioners believed to have links to a prominent mafia clan, investigators said.

The operation by the Palermo-based court was aimed at “known entrepreneurs from the Palermo area who belong to the Marineo mafia family, linked to the Corleone clan,” the anti-mafia department (DIA) said.

The businesses, property and bank accounts seized belong to Carmelo Virga, 66, his brothers Vincenzo, 78, and 71-year-old Francesco, and their sisters Anna, 76, and Rosa, 68.

“Complex investigations have uncovered how the Virgas have benefited from the backing of the Cosa Nostra in the bidding for these works and public tenders in the construction sector,” the DIA said.

RaiNews reported that the family were all occasional farm workers in the 1980s before becoming millionaires.

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