As reported AFP, Friday (23/10/2020) one of the victims of extortion was Italian businessman Gabriele Menotti Lippolis.
He could still hear the threat ringing in his ears: “Pay, or we’ll cut you, from throat to gizzard.”
He had to fight blackmail attempts not once, but twice. “It’s not easy,” he told her AFP.
The mafias feast on companies weakened by the Corona virus pandemic.
“I was approached and told to pay some money,” said Lippolis, who runs an event company, and owns a restaurant and one of the largest beach clubs in the southern region of Puglia.
“I didn’t say no right away,” he said of the incident. “I went to the police station half an hour later to make a complaint,” he said.
Italy has a long history of mafia extortion, from Cosa Nostra in Sicily to ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria and Camorra in Campania.
He insisted that the only thing that had to be done in such a situation was to report it. The attacker was arrested.
“We must not submit to violence or threats, but make people understand that the state is the strongest. Only together will we defeat the mafia,” he said.
He wasn’t the only one who rebelled. A revolt by a shop owner in Palermo in Sicily against demands for a “pizzo” protection money led to 20 arrests last week.