Magistrate Nicola Gratteri has said Pope Francis's crack down on financial corruption has made him vulnerable

Pope Francis’s life is in danger from ‘ndrangheta, Italy’s most feared crime group, a leading anti-mafia judge has said.

Nicola Gratteri, a magistrate in the southern city of Reggio Calabria, near ‘ndrangheta’s heartland, has said that Pope Francis’s crackdown on financial corruption in the Vatican, has angered bosses in the notorious crime squad.

Gratteri said: “I don’t know if organised crime is in the position to do something, but it’s certainly thinking about it. It could be dangerous.”

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He said Francis was “on the right path” in attempting to clean out the stables at the Vatican.

But Mr Gratteri, who has written a book on the Church’s links to ‘ndrangheta, said the mob “that has until now profited from the power and riches derived directly from the church is nervous, agitated.”

Speaking to Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper, he added: “Pope Bergoglio is dismantling centres of economic power in the Vatican. If the bosses can stop him they won’t hesitate.”

The Vatican spokesman was not available to comment.

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