BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Thursday, 14 December, 2000, 16:16 GMT
Mafia 'built' conference centre
Security for UN conference on organised crime
Conference centre: Built with Mafia money?
By David Willey in Palermo

Italian prosecutors are investigating reports that the Mafia was involved in building a new conference centre, where justice ministers from more than 100 countries are discussing how to combat cross-border crime.

The investigations come after Pino Arlacchi, a senior United Nations official, announced that the Sicilian Mafia was - if not dead - at least on its last legs.

David Trimble
Trimble: Trying to keep organised crime at bay in Belfast
He was later forced to modify his remarks after an angry reaction from leading Italian Mafia prosecutors.

Only two days later, a magistrate has confirmed an investigation into allegations that Mafia-controlled companies have been involved in building the modernistic offices and courtrooms of the new Palace of Justice in the centre of Palermo.

Human smuggling

Construction has been going on for 10 years, and the marble-clad fortress has had a temporary tented conference room added to accommodate the hundreds of delegates attending the UN crime conference.

So far, 66 countries have signed the new anti-Mafia treaty but, disappointingly, many fewer have signed protocols on the smuggling of illegal migrants and on the prevention of trafficking in women and children.

Among those not signing the protocols are China and Morocco - both countries whose nationals are victims of people smugglers.

The Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble is attending the conference on Thursday to learn about how to keep organised crime at bay in Belfast.

He has been given the freedom of the City of Palermo in recognition of his peace efforts in Northern Ireland.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

12 Dec 00 | Europe
UN tackles organised crime
14 Nov 00 | Europe
Mafia 'gripping Italian economy'
22 Mar 00 | Europe
Blow in fight against Mafia
19 Jul 98 | Europe
Mafiosi jailed for life
12 Dec 00 | Americas
Sex slavery: One woman's story
Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories