Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Planning a Mafia Free Wedding

A Sicilian couple, already partners in a business aimed at bypassing the Mafia, are planning a wedding the bride and groom hope will pay nothing to the mob.

Fabio Messina, 30, and Valeria Di Leo, 29, say everything from the wedding dress to the travel agency for the honeymoon comes from suppliers on the "Addiopizzo" list, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. "Pizzo" is the local term for protection money paid to the Mafia.

Prosecutors estimate 80 percent of the businesses in Palermo give the Mafia its cut of the proceeds. But more people and business owners have been willing to take a public stand against organized crime in recent years.

"Addiopizzo" began as an underground movement of people placing stickers around Palermo. Then a few business owners took a public stand and a list was published.

Messina decided to open his store because he believed that those business owners needed some encouragement. The store he owns with Di Leo sells a wide range of goods but only from "Addiopizzo" suppliers.

''I thought it was right to give those traders who refuse to pay protection money an extra opportunity,'' he said.

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