Flashmag Digizine Edition Issue 107 July 2020 - Page 87

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In 70 BC, counterfeiters were already running the Sicilian streets and theft of works of art was doing well. Today, it is a veritable black market for Art which has developed in Italy and around the world.

One the richest cradles of ancient art, Italy has a rich cultural heritage. In Tuscany or elsewhere, it displays in its streets and museums the canvases of the greatest painters of the Renaissance era. Populated by majestic churches, monumental castles and museums of all kinds, Italy also attracts, for its greatest misfortune, the lustful eye of traffickers. Indeed, for years now, the Italian mafias, La Camorra, La ‘Ndrangheta and La Cosa Nostra, have been taking a close interest in this very lucrative market.

Art has thus become the third largest illegal market in the world after drugs and weapons. Trafficking in works of art has many advantages for traffickers, who see it as a long-term investment, as works gain in value over the years. Roberto Saviano, author of the novel Gomorra which describes the practices of the Neapolitan mafia explains on this subject: "Today, art is the main channel for recycling dirty money. Because a Caravaggio canvas leaves fewer traces than a mountain of silver, it can be moved around easily and it is a relatively safe investment. " Thus, works of art become a discreet means of corruption.

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Ancient Art a boon for the mafia, terrorism and predatory states

Flashmag July 2020 www.flashmag.net

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