An exposé in the Italian newspaper La Stampa by undercover journalist Domenico Quirico’s has revealed an elaborate scheme that involves two Italian crime gangs trading weapons for antiquities stolen by ISIS from Libya and providing funds to the terrorist organization.
Italy’s interior minister Angelino Alfano confirmed that the Italian government is aware that these trades have been funding Jihadist terrorism in nearby Libya, reports Barbie Latza Nadeau.
“According to art historian and journalist Luca Nannipieri… much of the looted art sold by the so-called Islamic state ends up in museums, universities and foundations after it has been effectively ‘laundered’ and given false provenance documents that allow it to legally enter the mainstream market.”
The pilfered art is brought into Italy on Chinese-flagged cargo ships to the Calabria port of Gioia Tauro, “easily the most dangerous port in the country characterized by a mass of illegally-constructed buildings mostly made out of abandoned ship containers,” writes Nadeau. “It is here that the ‘Ndrangheta has, for years, run the biggest drug smuggling business in Europe.”