France, Russia, China, Etc. -- Don't Call Your Gangsters the 'Mafia'

When designing this site's domain of coverage, I made a deliberate choice to focus on the U.S. Mafia (though I include Canada, because there are strong bonds with our neighbor to the North). But checking through all the newswires I am constantly struck by how widespread use of the word "Mafia" is -- it's at the point of losing all meaning when we refer to things like the Gay Mafia, the Fashion Mafia or all these "corruptions" of the word to refer to legal, defined groups or clubs that have nothing to do with organized crime.

But the word is also used to describe organized crime groups, as well -- as we all know -- and I am amazed at how prevalent these organized-crime gangs are.

Still, aside from the following, whenever you read the word "Mafia" I am referring to traditional organized crime in America, members of which are all Italian, though associates can be anything and there are probably more Mafia associates that inducted members.

I guess I am a purist, you could say.

The don who wants to expose all but fears for his life: "ISLAMABAD: An underworld don, involved in the multi-billion-dollar car theft trade in the country, has volunteered to name and expose the powerful mafia players who, according to him, include police officials, Excise Department personnel, private businessmen and political figures. But the don fears for his life for which he is seeking protection.

"Muhammad Hasan, alias Major Muhammad Hasan, against whom there are more than 100 cases of car theft registered in different police stations of Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and different cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, however, does not trust anyone but Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to make disclosures, which he insists would be vital to launch a decisive crackdown against the mafia."

French weekly magazines review by RFI (the leading French radio station for round-the clock international news): "Le Point publishes a stunning dossier on the mafia in France unveiling their stranglehold on the real estate industry through money laundering, racketeering and corruption. New Mafiosi from former Soviet Union countries like Russia and Georgia are competing with Chinese bosses for control of strategic business sectors.

  • The paper quotes experts saying that Italy’s notorious “Ndranghetta” organization may have invested in the housing industry and supermarket chains in places like Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon and the French Riviera.
  • Nigerian capos control the African prostitution market here in France. Experts say the networks are getting more and more sophisticated with mafia bosses often resorting to bloodletting to protect their line of business."

Costa del Sol cons and scams - timeshare, phishing, boiler room | Olive Press Newspaper: "To paraphrase Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, ‘if it looks like a scam, and sounds like a scam, it probably is a scam’.

"But despite this, thousands of consumers in southern Spain continue to be duped into parting with their hard-earned cash by devious fraudsters using increasingly elaborate schemes to do it. It comes as no surprise that one such international ‘lottery scam’ – indeed the biggest of its kind ever to be busted – was based in Malaga.

"Linked to the Nigerian mafia (there those guys are, again), the group of 53 fraudsters, is accused of sending millions of spam emails – and official letters – to random accounts around the world, claiming the recipients had won the Spanish lottery.

"Victims, who numbered thousands around the world, each paid an administrative fee in order to claim their ‘winnings’. In total it is estimated the con men sent up to 25,000 emails and letters a day and approximately one in 500 people acted on them. In total, they are estimated to have made up to 250million euros."