A joint investigation conducted by Four Corners and Fairfax Media is set to blow the lid off of the Mafia – as in, the actual Italian Mafia – and their connection and influence within Australian politics, that will also contain allegations that criminal proceeds have been funnelled into the major political parties in the form of donations.
The problems generally stem from the fact that the Australian political donations scheme – as it stands – is quite poor, and features a systemic “lack of checks and oversight,” which leads to a number of loopholes in the system. The year-long investigation by Four Corners and Fairfax will reveal that an AFP report (obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request) stated that this lack of regulation into incoming money means it is virtually impossible to identify any potential bribes being made to Australian politicians, when it is indeed disguised as a political donation.
Furthermore, the investigation uncovered a series of links between people deeply embedded in the Mafia system, and senior Australian politicians.
And when we say “Mafia,” we mean “the actual Mafia,” as in the Calabrian Mafia or ‘Ndrangheta – the global criminal organisation that is thought to be at the centre of the worldwide drug trade, and operates in Australia via legitimate and non-legitimate business interests.
It is believed that Political Donors with strong ties to the organisation have lobbied both Liberal and Labor MPs in the past. A notable instance of which is said to have occurred during Liberal MP Amanda Vanstone‘s tenure as both the Australian Ambassador to Italy, and as Federal Immigration Minister. The latter occurred in 2005, when she granted a Visa to a crime boss with an extensive criminal history. His brother, a prominent Melbourne businessman, conducted a lobbying campaign of sizeable financial clout to allow him to stay in the country – at the time, he was on the cusp of deportation. Vanstone granted him the Visa on humanitarian grounds. Later, the man was arrested on drug trafficking charges, and implicated in a murder plot.
The former involved her tenure at the Australian Embassy in Rome – a crucial midway point in the delivering of highly sensitive information from Italian law enforcement to Australian authorities on the movements and operations of the Mafia. One boss in particular – again, unnamed at this time – had a son who successfully completed work experience at the Australian Embassy in a clerical role, despite classified information regarding his father being passed through the same building at around the same time. Though the boy had no access to classified material at the time, Italian authorities and security agencies labelled the hire as a “major lapse.”
The first part of the two part expose, conducted by Fairfax journo Nick McKenzie who travelled to Italy to investigate the scope of the ‘Ndrangheta’s political operations, airs tonight on ABC1 at 8:30pm.
via ABC News.