WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Wednesday slapped sanctions on five key leaders of the Camorra, one of Europe's largest criminal organizations.
The Department of Treasury targeted Antonio Iovine, Michele Zagaria, Mario Caterino, Paolo Di Mauro and Giuseppe Dell'Aquila, saying they were leaders or senior members of Camorra clans.
The move freezes all of their assets under U.S. jurisdiction and bars U.S. citizens from doing business with them.
The Treasury called the Camorra one of four transnational criminal organizations specifically identified by President Barack Obama in July 2011 for sanctions along with the Brothers' Circle, the Yakuza and the Zetas.
It said the Camorra is involved in money laundering, extortion, alien smuggling, robbery, blackmail, kidnapping, political corruption, counterfeiting and narcotics trafficking around the world, and more than 1 billion U.S. dollars worth of Camorra assets were reportedly seized by Italian law enforcement in March 2012.
"This action is designed to squeeze the Camorra out of the global financial system and protect the U.S. financial system from laundering of its criminal proceeds," said David Cohen, under secretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.
"We will continue to pursue members and supporters of the Camorra, and today's action against the group's leadership will help us cast an even larger net to expose their financial facilitators and associates wherever they may operate," he said in a statement.