Mafia bosses' Ferrari, Porsche destined for Italian police
Italy's police forces are about to be equipped with a Ferrari and a Porsche seized from the mafia, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said Monday, dpa reported.
The luxury cars - a Ferrari 512 and a Porsche Cayenne - form part of a haul of some 4 billion euros (5.5 billion dollars) worth of assets confiscated from organized criminals in Italy during 2008.
"I asked that the Ferrari be made available for use by the minister, but they said no," Maroni joked at a Rome news conference.
Instead police will use the cars to patrol the same mafia- controlled areas where they were confiscated "to show people that the times have changed," Maroni said.
Some 60 per cent of mafia assets seized in 2008 consisted of real estate, including 3,000 villas, flats and land parcels, while another 21 per cent included cars, motorcycles, boats and yachts, officials said.
Almost 900 businesses were also confiscated during the year and the government now intends discussing with business leaders ways to turn them into legitimate commercial ventures.
Police also carried out 2,080 mafia-related arrests, including 104 most-wanted suspects, Maroni said.
Since it was sworn into office in May, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's conservative government has taken credit for clamping down on crime.
Critics, however, say most of the government's measures, including deploying troops alongside police, have targeted petty crime and not corruption from which the mafia derives much of its influence.