What is new in Mafia Capitale? A judicial point of view.
The trial of «Mafia Capitale», a criminal organization so named by the Office of the Prosecutor of Rome, has once again raised the issue of applicability of the standard specifically mentioned in the Italian Criminal Code, art. 416 bis, to those criminal groups that do not occur as a direct or indirect expression of the traditional mafia, such as ‘Ndrangheta, Mafia and Camorra. The question is not entirely new. It is indeed already happened in the past that some fully autonomous organizations receive the judicial recognition of mafia associations. The deciding factor lies in the identification of the mafia method. In fact, article 416 bis requires for its configuration that participates of a criminal association acted exploiting the intimidating reputation of their criminal group, which creates an environment pervaded by an atmosphere of awe. In this respect the novum of Mafia Capitale is represented by its corporate relationship with corruption, which is used as a privileged instrument for influencing the entrepreneurs’ freedom of initiative, and at the same time acquiring full control of public administration. This particular criminal dynamic has led some judges and scholars to re-evoke the concept of «silent Mafia»: a new idea of the Mafia that tries in every way to avoid attention, preferring business and blackmails to public bloodshed. The question therefore remains very open-ended and debated. Certainly, given the importance of the court case, the outcome of this trial will shed light on the future ability of art. 416 bis to adapt to new forms of organized crime.
Keywords: Autonomous organizations; Mafia method; Corruption; Silent Mafia; New forms of organized crime.