An anti-Mafia operation has seen more than €70m of assets – including vineyards and winery buildings – conditionally seized from Sicilian winery Feudo Arancio.
The group owns more than 900 hectares of vineyards in the Sicilian provinces of Agrigento and Ragusa.
Feudo Arancio is part of Gruppo Mezzacorona, which is based in Trentino in northern Italy and is one of the country’s largest winery groups. It has strongly denied any wrongdoing.
The Guardia di Finanza of Trento – an Italian law enforcement agency under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance – has been examining possible money laundering links between Mezzacorona and the mafia group Cosa Nostra.
According to local media reports, the seizure was ordered by the Court of Trento following an appeal from an anti-mafia prosecutor who was investigating ‘the infiltration of organised crime into the Trentino economy’.
Four people were reportedly under investigation, which has involved looking at commercial activity between 2000 and 2005, according to Italy’s Ansa news agency.
The Mezzacorona group has strongly refuted the allegations.
A statement from the company read, ‘The Mezzacorona group has always carried out its entrepreneurial commitment correctly and seriously and to protect its members, employees and shareholders.’
It also called for ‘the utmost urgency from the judicial authority’, to resolve the matter ‘as quickly as possible to protect the income and work of [our] 1,600 members, 480 shareholders and 500 employees’.
The group added, ‘All the operations in the vineyards and the commercial activities of Feudo Arancio continue as normal. Gruppo Mezzacorona asks the judicial authority with the utmost swiftness that clarity be made as quickly as possible.’