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CRIME

Italian police bust gang smuggling fuel from Libya to Europe

Smugglers have been stealing fuel in Libya and selling it on across Europe, according to Italian police.

Italian police bust gang smuggling fuel from Libya to Europe
Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Italian police said on Wednesday that they had broken up a network selling low-quality Libyan diesel fuel worth €30 million euros at service stations in Sicily and as far away as France and Spain.

In a year-long investigation, the Guardia di Finanza financial police found that the smugglers were obtaining fuel destined for ships from a refinery operated by Libya's National Oil Corporation at Zawiyah, about 40 kilometres west of Tripoli.

Priced 40% below official market rates, the fuel was then mixed and distributed at service stations and on the black market, with police registering 30 trips from Libya to Sicily.

The fraud deprived the Italian tax authorities of about €11 million, police said.

A court in Catania issued several arrest warrants on Wednesday, including one for the CEO of the Italian company implicated in the fraud and an Italian go-between suspected of having mafia links.

CRIME

Italy records sharp rise in femicides over the past year

Murders of women in Italy increased by nearly 16 percent over the past year, with the vast majority committed by a partner or ex-partner.

Italy records sharp rise in femicides over the past year

Data from Italy’s interior ministry on Monday showed there were 125 femicides between 1 August 2021 and 31 July 2022, compared with 108 during the same period in the previous year.

Of that number, the vast majority of murders — 108 — were committed within the family sphere or an emotional context, while 68 murders, or 63 percent of the total, were committed by the victim’s partner or ex-partner, data showed.

There were a total of 319 murders in Italy in the period.

The numbers show that, on average, a woman is killed every three days in Italy.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: ‘Violence against women conditions every aspect of our lives’

According to a November report by the European Institute for Gender Equality, Italy came in ninth out of 15 EU member states for the number of murders of women by intimate partners, based on 2018 data.

It came in tenth when looking at homicide committed by family members and relatives.

Womens’ rights campaigners say attitudes must change in Italy, where cases of violent crimes committed against women by their partners or ex-partners are often portrayed in the media as tragic stories of love gone sour, with the killers described as “jealous”.

READ ALSO: Almost half of Italian women report suffering sexual harassment

Almost 3.5 million women in Italy have been victims of stalking, according to data from national statistics agency Istat – but only 22 percent of those report the act or seek help.

Around one in three Italian women suffer abuse at some point in their life.

Femicide commonly refers to the killing of a girl or woman by a partner or family member.

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