No evidence cocaine funds ETA arms buys

3rd September 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Spanish government dismisses Gomorra’s author claims that the Basque separatist group finances arms purchases with money gained from cocaine.

Madrid – There is no evidence that the Basque separatist group ETA finances weapons purchases from the Italian mafia with money gained from the sale of cocaine, the Spanish government said Tuesday.

Roberto Saviano, the author of Gomorra, an expose of Naples' Camorra mafia, said Monday that the outfit obtains cocaine from the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and then buys weapons from the Neapolitans.

The 29-year-old, who was forced to go into hiding in fear for his life after the book was first published in Italy in 2006, said he based the allegation on Italian police investigations carried out in the 1990s.

Asked about the author's claims, Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said that while he shared Saviano's view that "mafia organisations do a bit of everything, in the case of ETA we don't have any proof that it is involved in cocaine trafficking".

ETA is blamed for the deaths of 828 people in its decades-long campaign for an independent Basque homeland in parts of northern Spain and southwestern France.

The outfit is known to extort cash from businesses in the affluent, industrialised Basque region to finance its activities.

It figures on several terrorist blacklists, including those of the European Union and the United States.

Since 2006 more than a dozen leaders of the Camorra and other Italian mafia groups have been arrested in Spain, the main gateway into Europe for cocaine from Latin America and hashish from North Africa.

AFP / Expatica

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