Italy-Iraq: N'drangeta 'sold radioactive materials to Saddam'

Potenza, 3 Dec. (AKI) - Anti-mafia police in the southern Italian city of Potenza are investigating allegations that the Calabrian mafia (N'drangheta) helped an Italian firm to sell radioactive materials to the regime of late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

In his latest book, 'N'drangheta' an Italian historian and expert on the N'drangheta, Antonio Nicaso, explains that a now declassified CIA document supports these allegations.

The unnamed Italian company on three occasions between 1979 and 1982 sold uranium to Saddam, who wanted to acquire nuclear weapons, the CIA document claims.

Quoting the CIA report, Nicaso said the materials included 486 tonnes of yellowcake uranium, 33,470 kilogrammes of urainum dixoide and 6,005 kilogrammes of depleted uranium dioxide from Italy, Portugal, Nigeria and Brasil.

Several N'drangheta bosses were involved in the toxic and radioactive waste materials trade, N'drangheta turncoat Francesco Fonti testified in a memorandum to Italy's national anti-mafia directorate cited by Nicaso.

In the memo Fonti said he was paid 330,000 euros to 'dispose' of 600 containers of dangerous waste materials stored in two warehouses belonging to Italy's new technologies and environmental agency ENEA.

The materials came from Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany and the United States and were removed on 10-11 October, 1987, Fonti said.

Eight former ENEA directors and two alleged N'drangheta bosses are reported to be currently under investigation in connection with Fonti's testimony, according to Nicaso.

Fonti also testified there had been other consignments of uranium and of Kalashnikov rifles and cash. He claimed a number of politicians had been involved in this trade, and said several ships transporting radioactive materials had sunk off the southern Italian coast, Nicaso said.


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