Karlsruhe Dialogues 2010

Organized Crime - Dark Sides of Globalization

Roberto Scarpinato




was born in Caltanissetta/Sicily in 1952. He is senior prosecutor of the anti-Mafia directorate in Palermo. His father was a judge who had also stood up against the Mafia. Scarpinato himself went to law school in Catania and, from 1977, worked as a judge in Rome for a few years. In 1988 he started working with the judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who were murdered by the Mafia in 1992. He was appointed deputy attorney general of the Public Prosecutor’s Department in Palermo where he was involved in numerous Mafia trials. Among his cases were the assassination of the President of the regional government of Sicily, Piersanti Mattarella, and Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, general of the Italian Carabinieri. In the trial against the seven-time Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, Scarpinato and Guido Lo Forte acted as chief prosecutors. Andreotti was suspected to have ties with the Mafia, but was acquitted in 2003. In particular, Scarpinato concerns himself with the connection between the Mafia and politics and the economy. The Mafia’s wealth, as Scarpinato noted in an interview by Zeit-online on February 7th, 2008, produced economic power, which in turn translated into political power. “And that power is capable of having an impact on the politics of entire countries,” says Scarpinato. While Italy has effective means to arrest Mafia criminals, the latter might find ways to hide in Germany, for example. And this would cause harm to the state: “It is not a threat to Germany that there are 100 or 200 Mafiosi roaming around, but that billions of Euros have been invested here which are having an increasing influence on politics and the economy. It is a threat to democracy,” Scarpinato observed in a FAZ.net interview on December 10th, 2007.
Since Scarpinato is cracking down hard on the Mafia, he has been under police protection since 1989 and cannot move freely in public anymore. He has already escaped four attempts on his life.