Switzerland confirms Italian mafia boss entry ban

Nine men with links to Italian mafia group ’Ndrangheta were extradited from Switzerland to Italy in 2017. Keystone

The Federal Court has confirmed that a Calabrian 'Ndrangheta mafia boss, who was extradited to Italy in 2017, cannot enter Switzerland for 20 years.

This content was published on December 6, 2021

The Italian justice system says Leo Caridi is head of a Reggio Calabria 'Ndrangheta mafia gang. He was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison in Italy for belonging to an organised crime group.

In a decree published on Monday, the Swiss court reaffirmed a 20-year entry ban against Caridi handed down by the Swiss Federal Administrative Court and proposed by the Federal Office of Police (Fedpol).

These agencies were correct to determine that the appellant “represented a serious threat for Switzerland’s internal and external security”, it wrote.

The judges pointed out that Caridi had lived temporarily in canton Valais in 2016 and 2017 and had worked for a real estate firm. Fedpol believes the mafia boss may have come to Switzerland to infiltrate politics and business.

It is of legitimate public interest to keep at distance such an individual who has been “heavily sentenced and enjoys major influence among organised crime groups in his region”. To tolerate his presence would represent a threat for Switzerland and a source of tension with Italy it added.

The mafia phenomenon remains difficult to pin down in Switzerland but is thought to date back over 40 years.

In 2020, federal police said there were around 400 Italian mafia members, belonging to 20 different cells, living in Switzerland. This figure was revised upwards from the 100 mafia members, mostly of the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta, but also of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Neapolitan Camorra, previously thought to be operating in the alpine country.

Fedpol talks about multiple forms of crime: arms trafficking, human trafficking, drugs, counterfeit money, receiving stolen goods and money laundering. 

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