Mafia Cover Café Closes & Reopens
The Florentine carabinieri and the Guardia di Finanza temporarily shut down the Curtatone pastry bar in Borgo Ognissanti in mid-June, 2018. The café, established in 1937, located in the heart of Florence, has served as a central gathering spot for years. Twice convicted murderer and mafia boss Giovanni Sutera, along with his brother Renato Sutera, used the bar as a cover to launder money for their drug operations.
After Giovanni was released from jail in 2015, the Sutera brothers organized and oversaw drug cultivation in Spain, and began trafficking large quantities of marijuana throughout Italy. Spanish police officers seized the marijuana greenhouse plantations in June of 2017, catalyzing further investigations. As a result of these continued investigations, the carabinieri and the Guardia di Finanza preventatively closed the café after the anti-mafia district attorney’s office deemed the bar’s closure a matter of urgency.
In order to launder money, the brothers placed ownership of the bar in the names of fictional commercial companies. These companies were then made occasionally to go bankrupt, inciting bailout. Florence prosecutor Giuseppina Mione ascertained that in 2016, the brothers committed bankruptcy fraud as de facto directors of Mela Srl, one of the cover companies which owned Café Curtatone.
Authorities arrested four people connected to the drug operations on March 27: a little over two months before the recent closure. The prosecution petitioned for the closure of Curtatone Café, a provision which the investigating judge denied. Subsequently, with the order of the anti-mafia district attorney, the denial was overruled, and authorities shut down the café. The carabinieri determined that the Curtatone bar is valued at about one million euros.
Café Curtatone, which authorities temporarily shut down last week following criminal accusations against the owners, has reopened while remaining in possession of authorities for bankruptcy bailout.
The PG section of the Guard of Finance implemented the ordinance of the investigating judge on June 18 to continue the investigations of the criminal activity connected to the Sutera brothers. In addition to drug charges, Renato and Giovanni Sutera were accused of bankruptcy fraud. The brothers transferred the shares of Café Curtatone to the “clean” company Café Italia with the purpose of selling the pastry bar: worth about one million euros.
As it stands, authorities have taken control of the shares of both Café Italia and Café Curtatone in order to prevent the company from being sold. The judge has appointed a judicial administrator who will oversee the continuing investigation. (isabelle blank)
See Magenta’s original article here,