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DB Schenker's Italian Operations Scrutinized for Mafia Infiltration

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Published May 24, 2022 9:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

German logistics company DB Schenker's Italian subsidiary has landed in judicial administration after an investigation found that mafia members had infiltrated its subcontractor network. 

In 2020, a truck operated by a DB Schenker contractor was caught at the Port of Dover with 30 kilos of cocaine hidden in a shipment of dairy products. Italian investigators looked into the truck's ownership and found that it was connected to Anna Fiuto, the partner of convicted mafia leader Nicola Bevilacqua. Their business, Anna Fiuto Autotrasporti, had received contracts with DB Schenker worth more than $2 million over a five-year period, prosecutors said.

Bevilacqua has previously been found guilty of mafia association and aggravated extortion, and he is a known member of the notorious 'Ndrangheta criminal organization, which controls the majority of the cocaine trade in Europe. He is on long-term probation.

"The extreme complacency shown by several representatives of Schenker Italia in relating with a person of this criminal depth and in facilitating his activity is impressive," concluded a panel of investigating judges, who approved prosecutors' request for judicial administration. 

Schenker Italia will be subject to at least one year of oversight from an administrator, who will be tasked with rooting out any further mafia infiltration in the company's Italian operations. In a statement, DB Schenker said that it would cooperate fully with the authorities. At present, prosecutors have not initiated any criminal proceedings in connection with the case.

The 'Ndrangheta is one of the most powerful organized crime groups in the world, and it pulls in tens of billions of dollars per year in revenue from drug trafficking, gun-running, extortion and other illegal activity. Its operations were once estimated to amount to approximately three percent of the total GDP of Italy, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, and it is known to infiltrate legitimate business sectors for the purpose of money-laundering.