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'Pirate Of Rome' On Trial In Major Mafia Case

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The biggest mafia trial in modern-day Rome opens later with 46 defendants being accused of swindling the city out of millions of euros - reported the SkyNews.

The trial is the result of the "Mafia Capital" investigation which uncovered evidence of mobsters, bureaucrats and politicians colluding with each other.

Massimo Carminati, a one-time member of Rome's notorious far-right Magliana Gang, and his partner Salvatore Buzzi, a convicted murderer, are at the heart of the scandal.

Carminati, nicknamed "The Pirate" after losing an eye in a shootout with police, is alleged to have delivered envelopes of cash to city hall officials to acquire lucrative public contracts.

Police have released an array of wiretaps that they say show the defendants openly discussing their schemes - which included involvement with refugee centres and rubbish collection.

"Do you have any idea how much you can make from immigrants? The drugs trade brings you less money," Buzzi said in one call.

Both Buzzi and Carminati have denied the mafia charges.

Alfonso Sabella, a renowned Sicilian anti-mafia prosecutor who was drafted into the city after the "Mafia Capital" scandal escalated last year, said: "Rome is unfortunately fundamentally corrupt.

"This is not your traditional mafia involved in drug dealing or extortion rackets. This is something original."

Other defendants include Luca Gramazio, the former head of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party on the regional council, and Mirko Coratti, former head of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party on the Rome city council.

Both have denied wrongdoing.

The case will open in Rome's main courthouse but will then switch to the court bunker in the Rebibbia prison where it is easier to secure large groups of defendants.

It is expected to last until at least July, 2016.

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