Europe

Italian football clubs' assets seized in mafia raid

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Media captionHelicopter footage of some of the properties seized in the raids

Italian police have seized hundreds of millions of dollars of suspected mafia assets, including two football clubs.

Investigators said the 'Ndrangheta mafia used the fourth division teams Interpiana and Sapri to gain support in the southern region of Calabria.

Dozens of businesses, vehicles and plots of land were also confiscated.

The Calabria-based syndicate is believed to be the most powerful mafia in Italy, thanks to its hold on the European cocaine trade.

The total value of the assets confiscated - which included firms involved in construction, retail and agriculture - is estimated at some 190m euros (£170m).

A total of 44 houses, 60 plots of land and 164 vehicles were seized in a raid codenamed Operation Clean, AFP reports.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the operation had seriously damaged the clan's economic system, making the crime group both "poorer and weaker".

Mr Maroni said that the operations of the Pesce clan, based in the town of Rosarno, extended to Rome and northern Italy.

He said that the investigation had been made possible due to the collaboration of a mafia turncoat - the 30-year-old Giuseppina Pesce, daughter of clan chief Salvatore Pesce.

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