❝ Italian authorities on Monday arrested 68 people, including a priest and the head of a huge Catholic volunteer group, “Mercy,” and accused them of being in cahoots with a major mafia clan that allegedly skimmed millions in public funds destined for asylum-seekers at a welcome center in southern Italy.
Announcing the arrests, an incredulous Carabinieri Gen. Giuseppe Governale summarized the scam: “The welcome center and ‘Mercy’ were the ATMs of the mafia.”
❝ Investigators said the Arena clan of the Calabrian ’ndrangheta mob had secured a lock on servicing the Isola di Capo Rizzuto migrant center for the past decade, thanks in part to its links to “Mercy” and its regional head, Leonardo Sacco.
❝ Sacco is a well-connected Italian, and his arrest took on broader implications given the number of politicians linked to him. Even Pope Francis has been photographed with him. The Calabrian holding center is one of Italy’s largest, and “Mercy” is a major national organization that runs migrant centers and provides other volunteer services around the country…
❝ Police said the Rev. Edoardo Scordio, a parish priest affiliated with “Mercy,” was the “organizer of a true system of exploitation of public funds destined for the migrant emergency.”
Scordio in 2007 pocketed 132,000 euros for his spiritual services that he offered the refugees, police said in a statement.
At least he will be forgiven, eh?