Gas prices put Italian station owners at risk of Mafia

…the risk is getting ever higher of organized crime entering into and taking over the management of our businesses - already on the verge of bankruptcy - and turning them into money-laundering operations to clean cash coming from illegal sources," Mr. Bertini said.

The Globe and Mail
September 7, 2005

Gas prices put Italian station owners at risk of Mafia

The high price of gasoline and a resulting sales decline is hurting independent Italian gas station owners to such a point they risk falling prey to organized crime, according to their trade organization.

Independent operators are cut off from banks and must turn to loan sharks for financing to make up for retreating revenue, a move that can spiral out of control allowing organized crime to take over businesses, according to the Rome-based Federation of Autonomous Gas Stations Operators.

"Our group already has difficulty gaining access to bank credit and no longer has success finding legal financing for its businesses," said Franco Bertini, the trade group's president, in an emailed statement yesterday.

"For this reason the risk is getting ever higher of organized crime entering into and taking over the management of our businesses - already on the verge of bankruptcy - and turning them into money-laundering operations to clean cash coming from illegal sources," Mr. Bertini said.

High global demand and a shortage of refining infrastructure has caused the price of oil to rise 52 per cent this year in New York.

Mr. Bertini's organization said the price of gasoline and diesel has risen 6.6 per cent since the beginning of August, while sales have fallen 6 per cent this year.

Bloomberg


Risks: Organized crime, Legitimate Businessman’s Social Club, Loan sharking, Money laundering, Italy, 20050907 Gas prices

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