Italian anti-mafia police and finance police arrested this week dozens of people, including an oil heiress, as part of an investigation into a massive tax fraud with oil products involving mafia clans.
As part of the so-called “Petrol Mafie” operation, Italian police arrested 71 people and seized assets worth US$1.19 billion (1 billion euro) on Thursday in a coordinated action across Italy targeting to bust money laundering and tax fraud schemes allegedly carried out by various clans of the Camorra and ‘Ndrangheta mafia organizations in southern Italy.
Clans from the organizations have allegedly used fake invoices for oil product supplies to launder money from illegal activities.
One of the persons arrested is Anna Bettozzi, the widow of oil entrepreneur Sergio Di Cesare. Bettozzi is a former realtor and a former aspiring pop star and also goes by the stage name Ana Bettz.
According to prosecutors and police in Naples, the investigations have shown that the mafia clans have permeated the legal economy, especially “the strategic petroleum sector.”
Investigators and police in Naples, Rome, Catanzaro, and Reggio Calabria have been investigating since 2015 various schemes of tax fraud and money laundering involving oil products and the mafia.
Bettozzi has been the undisputed leader of the schemes, the person most “in the know” in the petroleum business of all, also thanks to what she has learned from her late husband Sergio Di Cesare, the preliminary hearing judge Tamara De Amicis wrote in the arrest warrant.
According to Italian finance police and investigators, Bettozzi has received over the years liquidity from various clans of the Camorra to grow her struggling oil business, boosting the revenues of the company with fake invoices. In just three years, the turnover of the firm, Made Petrol Italia, jumped from just US$10.7 million (9 million euro) to US$439 million (370 million euro), Rome’s finance police have found.
The assets seized by the police this week include the company Made Petrol Italia, formerly known as Max Petroli.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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