running costs | 

Revealed: How Kinahan pal Raffaele Imperiale blew €7m in ‘expenses’ in just three months

Another half a million went to his ex-wife, while hundreds of thousands of euros were spent on houses and horses, and €200,000 on air travel in just one three-month period

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

Kinahan gang associate Raffaele Imperiale spent an astonishing €7 million as a fugitive in just three months, with half described as "personal expenses", new documents have revealed.

The Camorra broker Imperiale - considered one of the biggest drug traffickers in the world - was arrested last year at his Dubai home and flown to Rome in March to face charges.

Imperiale, who became infamous after two paintings, including a Van Gogh stolen in 2002 in Amsterdam were found hidden in a wall in one of his villas in Naples, blew through more than €3 million for “personal expenses” while on the run in Dubai.

Another half a million went to his ex-wife, while hundreds of thousands of euros were spent on houses and horses, and €200,000 on air travel in just one three-month period.

The “management" expenses that are comparable to those of a large company, were, in reality, the private budget of Imperiale, who also used the money in an attempt to bribe Interpol to have his associate Bruno Carbone released from prison, according to a “collaborator of justice”.

The accounting is listed in an encrypted message that the 48-year-old Imperiale sent to what is believed to be his accountant, and relates to just the first quarter of 2020.

The message was sent via the Encrochat platform on April 3, 2020 from the nickname ‘Opentiger’, which Italian investigators identified as Imperial, to ‘Mightywood’ which refers to the accountant, they believe.

The total amount comes to €6,922,742 euros, which includes personal expenses (€3,275,275, of which €181,000 went to his wife); €492,700 to ‘Davide’ (identified as his brother-in-law David Charles Mirone); €497,000 euros to Imperiale's ex-wife; and €355,000 to other family members.

A total of €855,000 went on ‘office’ expenses; €147,000 under the item ‘Xxx’; €313,952 euros for ‘Case’ and €312,250 for ‘Cavalli’ (including €12,800 for ‘Juao Portugal’). The items dedicated to travel are also noteworthy: €41,000 for "Rent Car" and €214,510 for "air flights".

Further investigations since Imperiale’s arrest have led to the arrests of 28 people, who are all believed to be connected to the criminal organisation who specialised in transnational cocaine trafficking.

The operation was carried out by the Naples Mobile Squad, the Guardia di Finanza of the Provincial Command of Naples, the Central Organized Crime Investigation Service (SCICO) and the Central Operational Service of the State Police (SCO).

One of Imperiale’s associates, identified as Bartolo Bruzzaniti, a member of the Morabito-Palamara-Bruzzaniti family, rose to be a person “capable of fully controlling everything concerning the handling of containers within the port area of ​​Gioia Tauro (Reggio Calabria),” a presiding judge declared.

“He even managing to manage the scans of the containers that went to customs inspection, to conceal the presence of the narcotic inside them, thanks to the connivance of an employee of the Customs and Monopolies Agency ".

This was exploited by Imperiale who used the port as a terminal for imports from South America of large quantities of narcotic substances, such as cocaine, in the order of thousands of kilograms ".

The drugs would then be sold by Bruzzaniti himself who distributed the drug on the local market and in Milan.

“With this mechanism, the investigators believe, Imperiale had managed to build a position on the international drug market on the same level as the producers , from which he obtained his supplies,” it was reported.

After his extradition to Italy, Imperiale was arrested in his prison cell following a massive anti-mafia operation that led to the seizure of more than four tonnes of cocaine worth more than €800 million.

Imperiale later tried to claim his extradition from Dubai to Italy was a “kidnapping” and in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

But an Italian court said there was no grounds to bring a direct appeal to the Supreme Court.

He is now expected to remain behind bars until his trial on organised crime offences.

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