Status: 02/22/2021 09:37 a.m.
By Margherita Bettoni, Axel Hemmerling and Ludwig Kendzia,
It is September 1, 2009. Italian Mafia investigators from the Carabinieri make a groundbreaking discovery. The y manage to film and listen to a secret meeting. It takes place in a holy place in the Aspromonte Mountains in the southern Italian region of Calabria: in Polsi, a Marian pilgrimage site of great importance for the Calabrians.
A group of men meet in the midst of the annual celebrations of the Holy Madonna of Polsi. The y are representatives of the ‘Ndrangheta clans. On this September day, they apparently chose Domenico Oppedisano for the so-called Capo Crimine. Important structural decisions are made under his leadership. He should keep peace, settle disputes and ensure that the rules are observed. In Italian this body is called the Crimine di Polsi. Investigators assume that it has existed for years.
At the pilgrimage church of Polsi, the ‘Ndrangheta is said to have forced a “peace” among warring clans.
Peace after the Duisburg massacre
Just two years earlier, in August 2007, six men died in a hail of bullets in Duisburg. It was the temporary end of a long bloody feud between two powerful clans of the ‘Ndrangheta from the small Calabrian town of San Luca. Just a month later, Italian investigators in San Luca saw people who had lived in hiding for months suddenly move freely again.
The y also overheard conversations suggesting that the ‘Ndrangheta had forced a “peace” between the two warring clans. Above all, the intercepted conversations suggested that it was closed in a special place: near the pilgrimage church of Polsi. It can be assumed that the highest governing body, the Crimine di Polsi, has ensured this peace.
Secret Mafia Commission in Germany
With the expansion of the ‘Ndrangheta to northern Italy and abroad, other such control bodies emerged, which are subordinate to the Crimine di Polsi. The y are a kind of commissions or bodies that are supposed to ensure smooth business operations. But above all, they should prevent massacres like Duisburg. What was previously unknown to the public: The re is also such a secret commission in Germany. After joint research by MDR and “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (FAZ) is said to have had a Crimine di Germania for more than ten years.
According to confidential documents, this is said to have been founded after the Mafia murders in Duisburg. The seat is presumed to be in Duisburg itself. Nine men from all over Germany, all suspected high-ranking ‘Ndrangheta members, are said to sit on this secret commission.
Your task: You should ensure business peace, a balance of interests and compliance with the rules. It appears that your job is not to interfere in direct criminal operations. The special thing about the Crimine di Germania is that it is the only governing body of its kind in Europe outside of Italy.
The Federal Criminal Police Office confirmed MDR/ FAZ request officially for the first time that the existence of the Crimine di Germania was known.
Bloody massacres, like the one here between two powerful mafia clans in Duisburg in 2007, are to be prevented by the Crimine di Germania.
Bild: picture alliance / dpa
Germany means for ‘Ndrangheta
This, in turn, is explosive information, because such a crimine can only be founded with the blessing of the supreme control body, the Crimine di Polsi. Which in turn means that it is obviously very important to the bosses in Calabria that there is peace and equilibrium among the ‘Ndrangheta clans in Germany. The re should be an important reason for this: Germany is too important for the multi-billion dollar business of the Calabrian Mafia to be able to have bloody arguments here.
The Capo Crimine, who heads the committee in Germany, is apparently primarily responsible for peace and balance. German and Italian investigators assume that he will be elected by the most important members of the ‘Ndrangheta in Germany. The members of the commission, most of whom are known from Italian and German preliminary investigations, come from all parts of Germany.
The y come from places all over Calabria and thus represent the various clans of the ‘Ndrangheta active in Germany.
Around 20 ‘Ndrangheta groups in Germany
A representative of the so-called “Erfurt Group”, a ‘Ndrangheta cell that has been operating in Thuringia and Saxony for 25 years, is said to also sit at the table of the body that supposedly meets once a year. About 70 people are said to belong to the “Erfurt Group” and its environment. This would fulfill an important structural standard in the organization, because it can be viewed as a locale.
As a rule, a locale has at least 50 people. The y are important bases of operation for the criminal business of the ‘Ndrangheta in Italy and around the world. The re should be between 18 and 20 such locales across Germany, writes the federal government in 2019 in response to a request from the Green Member of the Bundestag Irene Mihalic. To MDR/ FAZ research should be available in Thuringia as well as in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Bremen, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Saxony.
BKA assumes 1000 ‘Ndrangheta members
Most of the state criminal investigation offices asked did not want to comment on this information. Only the state criminal investigation offices in Hesse and Thuringia confirmed the existence of Locali in their federal states. The Bavarian State Criminal Police Office, in turn, stated that there was supposedly no such thing in the Free State.
The ‘Ndrangheta is one of the largest cocaine importers in the world. It should make an estimated annual turnover of 50 billion euros.