Swiss officials deny Mafia arrests in Thurgau
Justice officials in Bern are denying reports from Italian police that 16 alleged members of the Mafia were arrested in the town of Thurgau, a Swiss town, saying that investigations are still ongoing.
Police from Calabria in southern Italy announced on Friday the arrests of members of the ‘Ndrangheta Mafia in the town of 24,000 people, which is also the capital of the canton of Thurgau, north of Zurich.
But Swiss chief federal prosecutor Michael Lauber told a hastily called press conference on Monday “the arrests have so far only taken place in Italy”, the Tages Anzeiger newspaper reported online.
Lauber said 10 to 20 people were being sought in the ongoing investigation, the majorIty of them Italian citizens who have lived in Frauenfeld for a long time, although some of them benefit from Swiss nationality.
A joint investigation by Swiss and Italian police has been under way for several years, the prosecutor’s office said in a news release.
Calabria police on Friday released a secretly taken video that purports to shows members of the Mafia group in Frauenfeld in what looks like a restaurant or meeting room.
The video shows alleged Mafia boss Antonio Nesci talking to at least 15 other people gathered around tow tables about their business in cocaine, extortion and trafficking, as well as the importance of the group’s tradition of honour, dignity and respect.
Nesci is heard saying the group have been active in Frauenfeld since the 1970s, and says the group has a “clean” reputation that took years to build.
The group is alleged to be part of a criminal organization based in Calabria in southern Italy.
The men arrested face drugs and arms trafficking charges in Italy.
But Swiss officials appeared to be annoyed about the incorrect information released by Italian police, in addition to the release of the video, Tages Anzeiger said.
Swiss prosecutor Carlo Bulletti is quoted as telling the press conference there was a danger the people shown in the video would flee Switzerland.
“We could have handled it differently,” he commented in response to the release of information by Italian police.
Chief prosecutor Lauber underlined that Switzerland is not a “Mafia country” but serves as a “quiet room” where members of the criminal group “take care not to become criminals in Switzerland”.
To see the police video allegedly showing Mafia members in Frauenfeld (sourced from the UK's Telegraph newspaper), check below: