Italy crossroads of the Iranian regime’s arms and drug trafficking: from the Formello case to the ‘Ndrangheta-Hezbollah relations

The excellent investigation that Giuseppe Scarpa is carrying out in Il Messaggero continues , regarding the story of the Iranian killed in Formello, Rome. As we have already reported here in Atlantico Quotidiano , the man killed was called Said Ansari Fioruz, he was 68 years old and was the son of a former Tehran ambassador to Rome, at the time of the Shah.

Of Firouz, however, his family membership matters little, what counts are his current relations with the Iranian regime. In fact, he worked directly for the Iranian services, in order to export drones and weapons to Tehran, acting as a liaison between the two countries and having relations with personalities of the regime under investigation for arms trafficking (a mullah named Sarafian Nasab Esamil, met in 2017 by Firouz in London, together with another person of Russian nationality).

Now, in addition to emerging more details on the Italian companies involved in arms trafficking and under investigation by the ROS (we are talking about Mateba Italia srl , Fonderia Metalli Dquattro srl and Flytop , always source Il Messaggero ), also the relationships that Firouz had with men of the 'Ndrangheta. In particular, a businessman arrested in Dubai in 2017 for money laundering, connected to the boss Giuseppe Crea (at the head of a 'ndrina originally from Rizzoni).

It is not the first time that news has come out concerning the dangerous relations that Iran has with men of Calabrian organized crime. In 2009, as part of an investigation opened in Genoa, the Guardia di Finanzia entered the Matitone – the skyscraper of the Municipality of Genoa – to search the offices of some Iranian companies that were based in the building ( Ika , Iritec and Irasco srl ). In particular, according to what the Casa della Legalità website reported at the time, the suspicion was that of arms trafficking between Italy and Iran, in particular by means of a "sort of plant built years ago by the Italimpianti company, which would not have been other than a coverage of relationships and activities aimed at such traffic ". Also in the same article, it was noted that the president of the Irasco board of statutory auditors, a certain Giacomo Catalfamo, was a member of the Mamone family, indicated by the DIA as a family of the 'Ndrangheta, at the center of many inquiries including the “Operation Pandora” .

Let's go ahead: a year later, at the port of Gioia Tauro a 7-ton cargo of T4 explosives was confiscated from Iran and headed for Syria. This should make us think a lot, because not only did that kidnapping confirm the dangerous relations between Tehran and the Italian mafia groups, but it also returned to the memory that T4 was precisely the explosive used, for example, by the Sicilian mafia to kill in 1992 and in 1993 the judges Falcone and Borsellino (tragic coincidence?).

But relations between the 'Ndrangheta and Iran are not solely related to weapons. Both the Calabrian mafia and the Iranians – through Hezbollah – are largely involved in drug trafficking, particularly in Latin America, in the so-called Tri Border Area (between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil).

Ten years ago, for example, the so-called “Operation Ivy” , when the ROS dismantled a mega international drug trafficking, loads that traveled between Antwerp, Rotterdam and Gioia Tauro. As Formiche recently reported , on that occasion direct contact between the 'Ndrangheta and Hezbollah men was suspected.

Five years later, in 2015, prosecutor Antonio Rinaudo led the “Araba Fenice” investigation, relating to the laundering of dirty money originating from drug trafficking, directly linked to Hezbollah. On that occasion, five brothers, originally from Lebanon, ended up in handcuffs, two of whom lived between Piedmont and Liguria. The investigation was carried out in collaboration with the FBI and Europol and also concerned some companies registered in Italy, but under the direct control of Hezbollah. At the time, the Ansa agency reported verbatim:

“According to overseas investigators, the Lebanese terrorist organization would have passed the money coming from the large drug trafficking from South America to the United States itself. The washing of money could not be done in that place precisely due to the inclusion of companies in the blacklist , which effectively blocked their activity with the country's entrepreneurs. The cleaning up of the sums – there is talk of a movement of 70 million euros between entries and exits – took place in Italy with the purchase of used cars and industrial and agricultural machinery. The purchased vehicles were then transported to Antwerp, Belgium, from whose port ships destined for Central African countries departed ”.

In 2017, again, the Italian authorities arrested a criminal network responsible for drug trafficking between the ports of Gioia Tauro, Livorno, Naples, Genoa and Lamezia Terme, which from Italy reached as far as Colombia, thanks to relations with a local cartel of the drug. Also in that case, a man of Lebanese nationality was involved, this Wael Chanboura, resident in Forlì, who directly delivered the money for the purchase of drugs in Bogotà ( “Operation Stammer” ). Again, analysts suspected Hezbollah's direct involvement in drug trafficking.

Finally, we recall the case of the so-called "Isis drug", which we have already spoken about in Atlantico Quotidiano . It is a mega load of Captagon amphetamines, seized in July at the Port of Salerno by the 007 of the Customs Agency, by the Guardia di Finanza and by the Dda of Naples. In that case, as mentioned above, there was talk of ISIS drugs, coming from Syria, but it was clear to everyone that the Sunni terrorists would not be able to produce such a mass of amphetamines (over 80 million tablets). Even in that case, suspicion fell on Hezbollah and the Syrian regime: Captagon , in fact, is the most widespread drug in the Middle East and Hezbollah has clandestine production laboratories on the border between Syria and Lebanon.

From this examination, which represents only a fraction of the trafficking we know, we can understand the danger that the Iranian regime and its proxy Hezbollah poses to our national security. A danger that cannot be underestimated, especially in periods of social instability, which even foreign regimes contrary to Western values ​​could take advantage of to amplify fears and mistrust.

The post Italy crossroads of the Iranian regime's arms and drug trafficking: from the Formello case to the 'Ndrangheta-Hezbollah relations appeared first on Atlantico Quotidiano .

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL on Tue, 27 Oct 2020 03:40:00 +0000.