Italian foreign minister lashes at German newspaper's Mafia claims

Rome - Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio on Thursday snapped at German newspaper Die Welt for suggesting that the Mafia might grab virus aid that Italy is applying for from the European Union.

Luigi Di Maio
Luigi Di Maio
"For a foreign newspaper to say that the Mafia is waiting for the money Italy is asking from Brussels is a shameful and unacceptable claim," Di Maio told RAI public television.
"I hope that the German government will distance itself from the statements in this German newspaper, which is one of the main newspapers in Germany," he added.
The row comes amid a bitter intra-European standoff over eurobonds - the issuance of joint debt by eurozone nations to raise funds for virus-stricken nations like Italy and Spain.
Germany is among the countries with strong reservations on the issue.
In Italy, anti-Mafia experts have warned of the risk that Mafia groups might try to grab some of the public money expected to be pumped into the economy in the post-virus recovery phase.
"It's going to be a golden opportunity for them, but we are aware of that and we will adopt countermeasures," Giuseppe Governale, head of Italy's anti-Mafia police (DIA), told dpa in late March.
Italy was the first country outside of Asia to be hit with a novel coronavirus epidemic. The country has so far lost more than 17,000 lives to the virus, the world's heaviest death toll.


Thursday, April 9th 2020

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