ANTI-mafia police have seized €50 million (£44m) in assets and detained more than 160 people in Italy and Germany, accusing them of running a huge, mob-controlled commercial and political empire.

The organisation involved everything from bread and wine sales to funeral services, migrant housing and waste recycling, investigators said.

Prosecutors in southern Italy said the ‘ndrangheta’s Farao-Marincola clan had its hand in just about every financial enterprise in the Calabrian town of Ciro and nearby areas, and that its grip extended throughout Italy and into Germany to launder its profits.

Specifically, prosecutors accused the bosses of driving out all the bakery competition in Ciro so residents and restaurants were forced to buy their bread from the one mob-controlled bakers. Italian restaurants in Germany were apparently forced to import wine, olive oil and other goods from a clan-controlled Italian association.

“They controlled all the economic activity in entire towns,” said prosecutor Nicola Gratteri. “It concerned all commercial activity, and obviously political power as well.”

Police said “dozens” of public administration officials were among the 169 people arrested.

Italy’s ‘ndrangheta has eclipsed the Cosa Nostra in power and wealth, infiltrating all sectors of Italian economic and political life from its Calabria base.