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Money laundering

Mafia millions confiscated by Bern

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has confiscated CHF6.4 million ($7.2 million) placed in Swiss banks by the former Mafioso and mayor of Palermo, Vito Ciancimino. Proceedings against his son, Massimo Ciancimino, have been discontinued. 

On the basis of information from the Money Laundering Reporting Office in Bern, in 2005 the federal prosecutor started proceedings for money-laundering and falsification of documents against Massimo Ciancimino and two former advisers of his father, who died in 2002

Swiss banks pricked up their ears when they heard about money-laundering investigations against the three in Italy. 

Massimo Ciancimino was arrested in Italy in April 2011, accused of forging documents claiming to show links between a former police chief and the Mafia. In October 2011, Ciancimino was sentenced to 34 months in prison. 


Almost three years later, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office has discontinued a process against Ciancimino and the others accused, “applying the discretionary prosecution system”, according to spokeswoman Jeannette Balmer, who confirmed a report in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung on Thursday. 

Ciancimino had previously been arrested in 2006 and decided to cooperate with the authorities in Sicily. He is believed to have laundered his powerful father’s illegally gained money in Switzerland. 

The CHF6.4 million in these accounts had been frozen since 2005 and has now been confiscated. What will happen to the money remains open. 

Vito Ciancimino was born in Sicily and became notorious for enriching himself and his associates by corruptly granting planning permission. He served briefly as mayor of Palermo, the Sicilian capital, as a Christian Democrat.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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