Italy's 'mozzarella king' arrested over mafia links

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Giuseppe Mandara (centre left) after his arrest in 2012. Photo: Italian Police/AFP
15:00 CEST+02:00
A warrant for the house arrest of the head of one of Italy’s biggest producers of mozzarella cheese, over allegations of mafia connections and money laundering, has been issued in Naples.

Giuseppe Mandara, nicknamed the ‘mozzeralla king’, is alleged to have had business dealings with Campania’s notorious Camorra mafia clan since 1983, according to reports in the Italian press.

The 68-year-old businessman is alleged to have received financial support from the Camorra's La Torre clan as part of an extortion racket that involved “intimidation of landowners” in the Mondragone area, where his La Mandara company is based, and enabled him to expand his dairies, the news website Il Secolo XIX reported.

Mandara, who once described himself as the ‘Armani of mozzarella’, was arrested for the same allegations in July 2012, when he was also accused of producing contaminated cheese from a faulty machine. He was later released after a court in Naples ruled that the evidence against him was unreliable.

La Mandara was also seized by authorities at the time and later reinstated.

The firm was allegedly founded with investment from La Torre in 1983. The clan is also alleged to have paid off his debts dating back to the 1970s, RAI News reported.

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