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Organized crime allegations and the America’s Cup

DEC. 19 — An Italian magazine recently dubbed the 32nd America’s Cup the “Mafia’s Cup” after allegations surfaced that certain construction projects associated with the competition were awarded to members of the country’s Cosa Nostra, or Mafia.

In November Sicilian police arrested Ciccio Pace — the reputed Cosa Nostra boss in Trapani, Sicily — along with five local businessmen on charges of extortion to obtain control of a business linked to the Cup, says a report in the United Kingdom’s Independent newspaper. Trapani hosted the Louis Vuitton Acts 8 and 9 of the qualifying matches in September and October.

Investigators are also looking into a possible link between the allegations and the firing of an anti-Mafia bureaucrat by Interior Ministry Undersecretary Antonio D’Ali, the report says. Some have accused D’Ali of having close ties with the Mafia.

America’s Cup organizers had no part in awarding the contracts, according to the report. The questioned construction work is associated with the overhauling of a historic port in the city.

— Jason Fell