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September 16, 2009

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Robot sub checks out wreck for mob waste

ITALIAN authorities have sent a robot submarine with a video camera to a shipwreck off the Calabrian coast to see if it is carrying radioactive waste dumped by the mafia in a lucrative disposal racket.

Calabrian prosecutor Bruno Giordano has cautioned in TV interviews that until the contents of containers on the sunken ship are known, he can't say if the allegations by a mob turncoat about the ship are true.

The robot sub began filming on Saturday. Yesterday, it was still unclear what the cargo held, or even if the ship was the Cunsky cargo vessel that turncoat Francesco Fonti has spoken about to magistrates and in interviews on Italian TV.

Giordano said former mobster Fonti, from a Calabria-based crime syndicate, has claimed the mob sank "hundreds" of barrels of illegal waste.

The prosecutor, based in Paola, Calabria, has promised that if toxic substances turn up, the hunt would be on for more sunken ships.

Fonti claims mobsters made millions of dollars illegally dumping radioactive and other toxic wastes for northern Italian businesses.

Fonti has said he himself has been involved in the alleged sinking of three vessels, including the ship the robotic diver is now filming.

In recent interviews, Fonti's face was blackened out to protect his identity, since he is under state protection.

Fonti claims the ship being filmed was carrying 120 barrels of radioactive waste when he used explosives to sink it about 32 kilometers off the Calabrian coast in 1992.

Investigators have long looked into claims that Italy's southern-based crime syndicates ran illegal rackets disposing of toxic waste.


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