Corsican mafia

The Corsican mafia is a set of criminal groups which are part of the French Mob, originating from Corsica. The Corsican mafia is an influential organized crime structure, operating in France, Russia, and many African and Latin American countries. The most important groups of the Corsican mafia include the Unione Corse and the Brise de Mer gang.[citation needed]

Corsican mafia
Founding locationCorsica
Years active1910s-present
TerritoryFrance, several countries in Latin America and North Africa
Criminal activitiesRacketeering, weapons trafficking, gambling, drug trafficking, assault, theft, loan sharking, fraud, bankruptcy, blackmailing, bribery, extortion, car bombing, smuggling, infiltration of politics, kidnapping, money laundering, murder, corruption, tax evasion
AlliesAmerican Cosa Nostra
Sicilian Cosa Nostra
Galician mafia


The Union Corse and the French Connection eraEdit

The pre-war crime bosses of Marseille, Paul Carbone and François Spirito, collaborated with the Milice of Vichy France and the Nazi Gestapo. During World War II, the Corsican gang led by the Guerini brothers (Antoine and Barthélémy, nicknamed "Mémé") sided with the Gaullist part of the French Resistance.

In 1947, Marseille was the main trading port of the French colonial empire and it had a Pro-Soviet mayor, Jean Christofol, who was backed by the labour unions for longshoremen, transportation workers, and dockworkers. In the coming Cold War, both the center-left French government and the US tried to fight Soviet influence in Marseille while occasionally employing illegal means to further their goal: the Guerini gang was employed to disrupt union and electoral gatherings, back strikebreakers and support US-funded anti-Soviet labor unions.

From the 1950s to the 1960s, the Guerini brother were exempt from prosecution in Marseille. The Guerini brothers trafficked opium derivatives illegally imported from French Indochina using the services of the Messageries Maritimes, a French merchant shipping company.

From the 1960s to the early 1970s the major Corsican gangs called Union Corse by American authorities organized the French Connection, a heroin trade between France and the United States.

The Corsican mafia todayEdit

The end of the French Connection caused the disbandment of Corsican clans involved in the heroin trade. However, the evolution of the Corsican Mafia has continued in several illegal activities (hold-ups, racketeering, casinos, illegal slot machines, various drug dealing and prostitution).

From the 1980s to the end of the 2000s, violent internal conflicts troubled the Corsican mafia, resulting in around 102 murders on the island of Corsica. .[1]

Today, the Corsican mafia consists of multiple families, allies, and rivals. Known groups in the Corsican mafia are the Venzolasca gang (nickname in reference to the village of Venzolasca, in northern Corsica, which are from key members of the gang), considered the Brise de Mer successors. The "Petit Bar" gang (also called the "Tiny Bar) and the Corsican mob of Marseille are also active.

Known activities of the Corsican mafiaEdit

Popular culture referencesEdit

  • The French film A Prophet (2009) shows the gradual rise of a young prisoner, cornered by the leader of the Corsican gang who rules the prison.
  • The French television series Mafiosa references a Corsican gang led by a woman.
  • In the film American Gangster, the Corsican mafia attempt to murder Frank Lucas after he puts them out of business through his monopoly on the heroin trade.
  • Mireille Bouquet from the anime series Noir (2001) is a surviving member of a family once involved with the Corsican mafia.
  • An extensive French study called "Les Parrains Corses" by J. Follorou and V. Nouzille explains the history of the Corsican mafia.
  • Ian Fleming's James Bond novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service is set against a background of Union Corse activities.
  • In the Japanese manga and anime Banana Fish by Akimi Yoshida, a fictionalized version of the Corsican mafia is heavily featured as the villain. In modern times (1980s for the manga and 2010s for the anime) it is run by an international Corsican Foundation and funded by prostitution, money laundering, tax evasion, government corruption, and the focus of the show is on their drug experimentation.


  1. ^ Hinnant, Lori. "Corsica Organized Crime On The Rise". The Huffington Post. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 5 March 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2014.

Further readingEdit