Italian cement manufacturer rejects Mafia pressures

Italian cement manufacturer rejects Mafia pressures
Published: 26 December 2007

Italcementi, Italy’s biggest cement company, plans to suspend its Sicilian operations as a protest against extortion payments to the Mafia. The company closed down most activities at its subsidiary, Calcestruzzi, on Sicily after an internal investigation and an inquiry by magistrates uncovered irregularities that could signify payments to organized crime, a spokesman for Italcementi said.

Italcementi’s decision is a “confirmation of its refusal to capitulate in any way to organized crime,” the company, based in Bergamo, said in a statement on Sunday.

About 80 percent of the 100,000 businesses in Palermo, Sicily’s capital, make payments to the Mafia, according to Pietro Grasso, Italy’s top organized crime prosecutor. Firebombings and other threats against businesses that refused to pay for protection in November prompted Confindustria, Italy’s largest employers’ trade group, to warn its members that payments to the Mafia would result in expulsion.