Open Access
Ghia, Riccardo Mario
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Russell Frank, Thesis Supervisor
  • Russell Frank, Honors Advisor
  • Russell Edgar Eshleman Jr., Faculty Reader
  • white-collar crime
  • Italy
  • globalization
  • cosa nostra
ABSTRACT At the beginning of the 2000s, three factories in Asti, a small Italian town, went broke and closed in quick succession. Hundreds of men were laid off. After some time, an investigation mounted by local prosecutors began to reveal what led to bankruptcy. A group of Italian and Spanish entrepreneurs organized a scheme to fraudulently bankrupt their own factories. Globalization made production more profitable where manpower and machinery are cheaper. A well-planned fraudulent bankruptcy would kill three birds with one stone: disposing of non-competitive facilities, fleecing creditors and sidestepping Italian labor laws. These managers hired a former labor union leader, Silvano Sordi, who is also a notorious “fixer.” According to the prosecutors, Sordi bribed prominent labor union leaders of the CGIL (Italian General Confederation of Labor), the major Italian labor union. My investigation shows that smaller, local scandals were part of a larger scheme that led to the divestments of relevant sectors of the Italian industry. Sordi also played a key role in many shady businesses – varying from awarding bogus university degrees to toxic waste trafficking. My research unveils an expanded, loose network that highlights the multiple connections between political, economic and criminal forces in the Italian system. This network, composed of white collars and members of Mafia-type organizations, showed an uncanny ability in seizing opportunities offered by wider globalization processes, such as privatizations, the free movement of capital and weakened labor unions.