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    Italian workers exploited by mafia clan in Belgium

    The Bologna Prosecutor’s office (Italy) is investigating an organisation that exploits Italian workers in Belgium. 

    Sixteen people were arrested in Italy in June. Le Soir reported that there may be a connection between the rise of a mafia clan in Belgium and economic activity between Brussels and Namur.

    Construction workers are allegedly brought from Italy, working under exploitative conditions.

    Le Soir got hold of a 261-page document detailing the proof against 76 people being investigated by the Instruction court.

    Among them is Dilbeek resident Mario Timpano, who is suspected of being the link between Belgium and the Grande Aracri clan, who belong to the Calabrian mafia.

    The judge said telephone bugs were able to expose an organisation that takes vulnerable workers to building sites in Brussels to exploit them for the clan’s financial gain. 

    At the start of 2017, “David Gaspari and Salvatore Grande Aracri recruited workers and bought them to Belgium and subjected them to exploitative conditions. They used them for construction work in the Brussels region, to build 350 apartments for a local business,” magistrates said.

    Eight victims (four masons and four carpenters) were identified in the first few months of 2017 alone. They may have only been paid salaries as low as 6.75 euros an hour.

    Sarah Johansson

    The Brussels Times