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Clan boss claims he specialised in scuttling poisoned vessels

October 22, 2009

By Guy Dinmore Published: October 21 2009

Speaking to the Financial Times yesterday in a secret location in northern Italy where he is under house arrest serving a 50-year sentence, Francesco Fonti recounted how he sank three ships in quick succession, writes Guy Dinmore.

While his assertions have not been proved, Mr Fonti claims he worked for the ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrian Mafia, for 26 years, specialising in drug trafficking – cocaine and heroin – arms trafficking, mainly in Africa and South America, and the disposal of toxic waste, sometimes nuclear. Over the years he became a clan boss, high in the Mafia hierarchy.

Mr Fonti, 61, a slight figure, educated and articulate, started collaborating with the authorities in 1994 in an effort to get out of jail.

The Cunski, he recalled, he sank using dynamite in the bows, transporting the explosive by motorboat.

The contract involved “a network of companies” in central Europe that collected the waste from industrialists and governments, working with the Italian and other national security services.

He also believes two reporters shot in March 1994 in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, were killed for uncovering links between Italian gun-running to a warlord in exchange for dumping toxic cargoes.

“The traffic still goes on. Where there is money, the trafficking in waste never ends. It is like drugs. There are always requests for disposal,” he said.

Mr Fonti does not expect to live long. He has had a heart operation, has cancer, and fears he could be killed at any moment.

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