Matteo Salvini, a far-right minister and the head of the League party, recently won a general election in Calabria southern region in Italy, but it appears that he may have had a little help from a crime organization, the Ndrangheta, that leads the cocaine trade for most of Europe.
Salvini was backed by Giuseppe Scopelliti, the former mayor of Reggio Calabria. Scopelleti was arrested before the election and charged with forging documents during his term as mayor. The former mayor was accused of being “sponsored” by a ruling clan of the ‘Ndangheta, and it is suspected the criminal clan played a “crucial role” in the Scopelliti’s political career.
At this time, no direct ties between Salvini and the crime organization have been found, but Salvini is definitely closely linked to other individuals who have ties to the ‘Ndrangheta.
The League’s leader Salvini once summed up his international political links by tweeting: “Viva Trump, viva Putin, viva Le Pen,” referring to Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front, a key ally for the League in the European Parliament.
The minister has made attempts to distance himself from the mafia, like his recent swim in a pool at a villa confiscated from a crime boss. However, he also threatened to pull police protection from an outspoken anti-mafia writer. So it is difficult to judge exactly where his loyalties lie. And although Salvini says battling mafia corruption is one of his priorities, he has also been proposing policies that would be beneficial to organized crime.
Mafia ties are just one of the issues attached with the minister, as corruption seems to follow Salvini. His political group was just ordered by the European parliament to repay a half a million euros that he and other far-right leaders spent on parties. Salvini has also pushed a fascist agenda and called for the deportation of the Roma population from Italy.
Read more about the ties, “Matteo Salvini backed by politician 'with links to mafia'” written by Lorenzo Tondo and Stephanie Kirchgaessner and posted by The Guardian on July 3, 2018