13 Jul 2013

Mayor and town councillors arrested in Italy

9:42 am on 13 July 2013

Police in southern Italy have arrested a mayor and five town councillors in a crackdown on mafia fraud and contract-rigging.

Scalea mayor Pasquale Basile and the five councillors are suspected of granting contracts to firms run by the 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate.

They were among 38 people arrested in five southern provinces after police seized assets worth 60 million euros ($US78 million) in a series of raids.

ANSA news agency reported the seizures included two yachts and 33 cars. Police also froze 78 bank accounts and 23 insurance policies.

The BBC reports the operation targeted the Valente-Stummo clan of the 'Ndrangheta, a powerful mafia network based in Calabria.

Last October, the Italian government sacked the entire council of Reggio Calabria, the capital of Calabria province, in a separate anti-mafia operation.