NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 09:03
Mafia boss Raffaele Imperiale had millions of euros delivered to Ridouan Taghi’s eldest son in 2021. This is evident from criminal files analyzed by RTL News and Follow The Money (FTM). The money transport was part of an extensive smuggling network of drugs and cash via Dutch industrial estates.
Imperiale (48) led the drug line between the Netherlands and Italy from Dubai, reports the joint research editors of RTL News and FTM. From company warehouses in North Holland, the mafia boss sent trucks with more than 1500 kilos of cocaine to Italy in 2020 and 2021 using encrypted telephone messages. On the way back, the trucks then transported millions of euros in cash to the Netherlands.
Of those money trips, 5 million euros is intended for the 22-year-old son of Ridouan Taghi, according to the criminal file of justice in Italy. That file is in the hands of the investigative editors of RTL News and FTM.
About the investigation
The investigation by RTL and FTM is based on the Italian criminal file (Ordinanza of 26 April 2022) against Imperiale and co-defendants, and the Dutch case file 26Mandel. The latter is the criminal case against Youssef T., Ridouan Taghi’s cousin.
T. was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison last Monday for passing messages from Ridouan to the outside world, allowing the organisation’s criminal activities to continue.
The Italian case has yet to be reviewed by a judge. The researchers also spoke with sources within the police and the Public Prosecution Service (OM) in the Netherlands and experts in Italy.
According to the judiciary, intercepted messages between Taghi’s son and Imperiale show that 2.5 million euros ultimately reached Taghi’s son. The millions payment confirms the view of the Dutch OM that Taghi’s son continued his father’s criminal organization after his arrest, the researchers say.
Ridouan Taghi knows Imperiale from the time when he was still a fugitive and went into hiding in Dubai. According to the OM, the two remained allied even after Taghi’s arrest. Taghi then kept in touch with Imperiale from prison, says justice.
Imperiale was also arrested in Dubai in August 2021. At the end of last year it became clear that Imperiale was going to cooperate with the Italian judiciary in the hope of a reduced sentence. The Italian was already convicted in 2017 for drug trafficking and money laundering. Then he testified in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Messing around with white powder
He never served a prison sentence because he stayed in the United Arab Emirates. That country does not have an extradition treaty with Italy. After negotiations, he was extradited to Italy last year.
According to investigative journalist Koen Voskuil of RTL News, Raffaele Imperiale’s organization in the Netherlands clearly shows how criminal undermining, the mixing of underworld and upperworld, works in practice.
“These Italians abuse the legal economy in the Netherlands,” says Voskuil. “For example, Dutch companies are located in the warehouses in which they replace a deck cargo with cocaine. It must be noticeable that Italians are messing around with packages of white powder and shopping bags full of banknotes.”
Inez Weski, the lawyer of Ridouan Taghi and his son, says in a response to RTL Nieuws that Sky ECC messages intercepted by the police and included in the criminal files are unusable according to the Italian Supreme Court.
“In any case, without any clarity about the origin, identification and context of that material, nothing useful can be said about it,” says Weski. In addition, she says that Ridouan Taghi’s son has never been in contact with the law.
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