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US sanctions Naples mafia members

The US Treasury on Wednesday announced sanctions against five members of the Naples mafia and two companies suspected of having links to the "Brothers Circle" criminal gang.

US sanctions Naples mafia members
Scampia, a suburb of Naples, is notorious for its drug wars and battles between rival Camorra factions. Photo: Mario Laporta/AFP

The treasury department said in a statement it was sanctioning Camorra mob boss Marco Di Lauro, fugitive Mario Riccio and three other mobsters.

It was also sanctioning two businesses with ties to the "Brothers Circle" – a multi-national criminal network whose tentacles stretch throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

The moves are "a continuation of our systematic effort to expose and disrupt these dangerous groups and protect the US financial system from their illicit activity," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said in a statement.

Di Lauro has been on Italy's most wanted list since 2004 for mafia-related activities. Riccio, 22, is tied to a drug-trafficking network that nets "tens of millions of euros" each year, the treasury department said.

It said "The Brothers Circle" was a multi-ethnic group composed of criminals largely from the former Soviet Union but also extending around the world. The US government has already sanctioned 15 people with ties to the organization.

The Treasury sanctions mean the assets of individuals and businesses held in the US have now been frozen. The sanctions also ban any dealings with those involved.

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TRAVEL

What does the US’s new risk classification for Italy mean for American travellers?

The US State Department has changed its advice on travel to Italy as well as dozens of other countries with improving Covid infection rates. What does this mean for Americans who want to come to Italy?

What does the US's new risk classification for Italy mean for American travellers?
Photo: Andrea Pattaro/AFP

The US has downgraded Italy from its “do not travel” list (level 4) to “reconsider travel” (level 3). 

The decision by the US State Department and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention means that Ital yis no longer in the highest risk classification for travel. 

However, according to the State Department’s advice for level 3 “reconsider travel”, “US nationals should avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security”. 

“Make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling to Italy. Unvaccinated travelers should avoid nonessential travel to Italy,” reads the CDC website.

However, Italy’s entry rules for Americans remain unchanged since May 16th.

As the US remains on Italy’s travel ‘D list’, entry is allowed for any reason but all arrivals from the US are subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine period unless on a special Covid-tested flight.

People arriving on other flights, including those who must travel for essential reasons, must provide negative test results as well as facing the quarantine requirement on arrival, under rules which are currently set to stay in force until at least July 30th. (However, it’s possible that they may be dropped earlier – or extended beyond that date.)

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There is currently no exemption to the Italian travel restrictions for people who have been vaccinated.

However, Italy’s government said on Wednesday that its long-awaited travel ‘green pass’ or health certificate would be ready for use in the coming days.

The pass will be available to anyone who has either been vaccinated, has tested negative for coronavirus within the past 48 hours, or has recently contracted and recovered from Covid-19.

Authorities did not clarify whether the pass would be made available to non-EU citizens immediately. Find more details here.

Other countries that are no longer classified as “do not travel” by the US are France, Spain, Japan, Greece, Switzerland, Canada and Mexico. You can find out other countries’ classifications here

The CDC said it had also updated the criteria it uses to determine these risk levels “to better differentiate countries with severe outbreak situations from countries with sustained, but controlled, Covid-19 spread”.

The US State Department uses the CDC’s recommendations to set its own travel advice but also considers other factors such as Covid restrictions and terrorism in other countries.

All returning US citizens require a negative Covid-19 test result before boarding their plane back, the CDC added.

Stay up to date with Italy’s travel rules by following The Local’s travel section and checking the Italian Health Ministry’s website (in English).

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