Maffi / Zhao is an underworld crime syndicate dedicated to the advancement of a Twi'leki-inspired criminal agenda. Based on the continent of New Kala'uun on Etti IV, it has far galactic reach, with a plethora of operations, business fronts, and economic investures. Few major star systems escape its influence, with such notable worlds as Coruscant, Corellia, Kashyyyk, Bonadan, and Tatooine all with some degree of saturation by the syndicate. It was born as a rival to Black Sun, and has grown considerably since it's inception. Its focus and operations, however, distinguish it from the high class elite secret society of its rival - as it toils the streets, engages openly in bloody conflicts and exacts an iconoclastic approach to underworld power. It is directed primarily by Twi'leks, but does subsidize a non-Twi'leki entity called The Brotherhood of Zhao. Involvement takes on an almost religious overture, with a 'family' mentality and the organization has become regarded as its own culture.
The Maffi Syndicate dips its lekku into every convievable operation in the Galactic Underworld.
Zhao Shipping Systems Edit
Zhao Shipping Systems is the primary front company of the Brotherhood of Zhao and Maffi. It provides shipping services to a number of Corellian system worlds and huals frieght from one end of the Galaxy to the other in any given day. One of its most lucrative long term contracts is that of providing primary resource and cargo allocation services to the Resources Division of the Corporate Sector. This contract, forged by Tyy'sun Eson and Corey Cochrane, provides ZSS with a foothold on CSA territory for the purposes of smuggling elicit contraband, narcotics, slaves and misallocation of Corporate Sector Authority assets. As such it is the perfect setup for a steady income of underworld revenue in the guise of a perfectly legitamate and respectable service. ZSS pilots and staff are all granted a citizenry within the various CSA worlds and recieve a weekly paycheck according to their duties and position from Resources Division. Pilots are expected to maintain a professional conduct while in the Corporate Sector, especially when on duty, and uber-especially while conducting the various illegal activities assigned to them by Maffi while on the job.
ZSS Holds its primary office on Corellia in the Brotherhood of Zhao compound located in the slums of Coronet City. However, many of its more legitamate front operations are managed from the office building/warehouse located in the Industrial district of the planet Bonadan in the Corporate Sector. ZSS also makes regular use of the deepspace Rendili Bulk Carrier Cruiser -Remittance- for both pragmatic and illicit needs.
Zhao Shipping Systems is often whispered in the fringe and mainstream ranks of galactic society alike as being an agressive company that is not beneath unscrupulous and violent competitive strategies. Its primary competition: Galactic Transport Systems and FLS have both felt the sting of seemingly random pirate attacks durring deepspace freight hauls, but little hard evidence is available to prove ZSS is behind any of the attacks.
Operations / Activities ExamplesEdit
Illegal immigration Edit
Illegal Immigration is a huge forum for money making and obtaining cheap labor from the myriad Sentients across the Galaxy. Moving from one system to another is something many beings cannot afford, or do legally, or do at all due to various circumstance. That is where Maffi comes in. Maffi can transport many beings secretly off world, smuggling them away and to whatever system, and across whatever political borders these immigrants wish. They pay what fees they can and are smuggled into worlds and deployed en mass by ZSS freighters, or other deceptive means of transportation. The amount of currency generated by this practice is immense - but so too are the opportunities to control the illegal immigrants.
For example, if a small load of would be immigrants wishes to relocate to a distant world illegally, Maffi can provide that transportation, smuggle the beings into the target system, and then charge them a set price as a debt. This price will typically be more than the illegal immigrant can pay, and so Maffi will then inform the Sentient they are required to work off their debt by contributing to whatever labor is required in the criminal practices Maffi is involved in within that system. Often this is prostitution, theft, manual labor, battle against rival entities, drug running etc. Once the immigrant has payed off the debt, they are left alone and set free to make their own way within the system. This form of exploitation is very common, provides for cheap assets, and illegal immigrants do not go to the local authorities from a combination of the fear of deportation and violent retribution from Maffi.
Slavery is a reality, not just within the Twi'lek culture, but in the Galaxy at large. Maffi has operations laundering the profits of other slaver groups through reinvestment. There are various forms of Slavery in the Galaxy and this section will describe one. Maffi does not engage in the traditional purchase, capture or trade of sentients, unless it is freeing Twi'lek slaves. It does not proactively free non-Twi'lek slaves however.
Debt Bondage accounts for much of the slavery within the Corporate Sector but also many less financially wealthy systems and worlds. It is a classic form of slavery, ussually associated with loan sharking. The original debt, which may have started out as a small and manageable one, through exorbitant interest or "extras" entangles the borrower in a way they never understood or foresaw. It is typologically similar to the sweat-shop or sex worker, whose earnings are withheld to repay their trafficker; the mule who is forced to carry drugs to repay a debt to Maffi loan sharks; or the small Tatooine or Nar Shaddaa business owners who are forced to borrow at impossible rates from the Maffi becuase bank loans are not available, and who eventually have to perform criminal "favors" in return.
Trafficking in Sentient Biology Edit
Maffi also exploits another desperate Sentient condition - illness. Acting as middleman for those who need organ transplants, Maffi charges high prices to the patient needing an organ, and underpay or dupe the organ donor. The sale of Sentient body parts is illegal in most systems, though in some, including Tatooine and some lower levels of Nar Shaddaa, organ sales are carried out fairly openly. Some philosophical and religious minded cultures prohibit the mutilation of the body, so their populations often contain a constant demand for organs.
Although hearts, livers, lungs and lekku are sometimes sold, kidneys are the most popular organs for trafficking as there is a great demand for them, and they can be supplied by a live donor. Occasionally kidneys from cadavers are bought illegally, but survival rates for patients who recieve a kidney from a live donor are far better, so the market in Human and other Sentient organs is a profitable one. Traffickers naturally prefer not to pay for the organs they sell. IGN and other investigative and news organizations have repeatedly investigated cases of young sentients apparently killed for their organs, especially in backwater worlds and various slums of the more powerful star systems.
Illegal Arms Trade Edit
Arms trafficking has a long history, but during the last 15 years due to the Galactic Civil War it has mushroomed into a transgalactic business on a huge scale, largely controlled by organized crime groups. Maffi has its lekku dipped into this process and is experiencing dividends. The opening of borders, the collapse of currancies and the growth of terrorist groups with access to funds have all played their part. With the breakup of the Empire, some systems found themselves in possession of vast supplies of weapons. These weapons have found their way across the galaxy and into the underworld and a veritable market has formed in the years to follow.
Case Study: Selling Arms to Both Sides.
- Maffi arms dealers are rarely concerned with the politics of the wars in which their weapons are used. Maffi sold arms to the Yasko government in the Yanti system and to the Blarge group that opposed it. The complexity of bank arrangements that Maffi create to cover itself and the lack of intragalactic law enforcement make it a highly profitable business.
Diamonds, Gemstones, and Precious Metals Edit
Diamonds, gold and platinum are high value, intergalactic acceptable mediums of exhange, second only to hard currancy in terms of their convenience for illegal trading. Unlike weapons, diamonds require no end user certificate and are vitually untraceable. Many of the smuggled diamonds and gems are used to fund the illegal importation of weapons and drugs. Outer Rim systems are often divided between private armies who fund their military operations with smuggled diamonds and gold. The people subject to these warlords are forced to mine the commodities to perpetuate the fighting. Maffi's own supply of manual laborors and mines are also put to use in the same way.
Smuggling diamonds and gems is quite simple. Bags of uncut stones are transported from their place of origin, split into smaller packages and shipped to one of the major diamond markets, such as Nar Shaddaa or Coruscant's undercity. In the last 10 years, Diamonds and other gems have replaced gold and platinum as the most smuggled commodity becuase metals are difficult to refine and transport.
Starship Racketeering Edit
There are two main types of ship thieves. The first is the joyrider who looks for vehicles to steal as a form of temporary transportation, and who then abandon them. The second is the professional who steals specific vehicles and ships to order, either to export or to sell on, having changed its identity, for example, the ship may be re-hulled, re-sprayed, modified, and resold with different transponder codes and identification numbers.
The creation of the New Republic and the aftermath of the Galactic Civil War, along with the opening up of new borders, has made the work of Maffi in stolen ships and vehicles much easier. Huge bulk frieghters through ZSS, like the Remittance allow stolen ships to be moved around the Galaxy easily and speedily. A stolen ship can be taken across several systems before the owner has realized it has been taken and informed the local authorities. Intergalactic ship crime is organized, complex, lucrative and growing.
Examples of the Maffi Racket include: the movement on Tatooine of a large number of land speeders which had been stolen from Coruscant; a number of stolen Lambda shuttles shipped back to Corellia and sold at prices lower than their market value; and the storing and fencing of YT-1300's and Sarhdak Light Cruisers enroute to employment in the far Outer Rim territories.
Smuggling Rare Animals Edit
The illegal trade in animals is worth billions of credits each year. It is said to be the third most lucrative form of Galactic smuggling after drugs and arms. Most of the smuggled animals go to scientists or pet collectors, though there is an increasing trend for them to be sold for fur, potions, or ornaments. Most rare animals are sold to the Corporate Sector market, though they are also popular with New Republicans and Imperials.
Rare animals are ussually cuaght by local poachers who are paid a trifling amount by Maffi for their efforts. Maffi then smuggles the animals abroad. The animals often die on the jouney, which is hardly suprising given that they are often stuffed into small bags or containers. Animals are also sent by mail, and sales may be arranged over cyberspace.
The reason for the smuggling and sale of these animals is very simple: profit. Some breeds of rare creatures can sell for as much as 70,000cr. In CSA markets green Rykrits and Amas Hawks are sold alongside Kowakian Monkey-Lizards. On Coruscant one can buy Nabooian Sheep and small jungle finches. Advice about how to smuggle them home is often thrown in for free. Many of the animals come from the Mutanda Jungle. The variety of illegal animals available for purchase around the Galaxy is endless and continues to increase.
Protected Animal Meat Edit
During a check of the cargo on a transport from Mutanda to Coruscant in 13 ABY, customs officers found several duracases leaking blood. Inside they discovered 2.5 tonnes of meat in 56 bags. Womp rat, ronto, scurrier, prok, bat, fish, nek and snails, Nabooian sheep carcasses, and "Mut Meat" are just some of the delicacies illegally imported into Coruscant.
The term "Mut Meat" is used to describe the flesh of animals which are killed illegally, such as those from Kashyyyk, which are being hunted to extinction. Meat smuggled into Coruscant via Corusca starport can be found for sale as far away as the undercity and Abbysal Ruins and is regularly found openly for sale in the Subterranean Bazaar.
It is estimated that many tonnes of illegal meat products are smuggled into the New Republic each year. There are obvious health risks to the final consumers in this trade. The meat is not transported in refrigerated freighters unless ZSS has utilized a few of their better outfitted YT-1300's for the haul. Animals often carry infectious deseases while other animals may carry snapeworms, giadia, and malisarmonella.
Throughout many areas of the Outer Rim, mut meat is important as a source of affordable food and only secondly as an opportunity for trade. As the availability of mut meat declines, more species are hunted, and commercial trading is replacing local consumption. Rykrit used to be popular on Ryloth, but since numbers have declined hunters now go for animals that were at one time taboo, such as worrt and Kowakian Monkey-Lizard.
Indeed Maffi not only makes it possible for hunters to access new areas, but also supply transport, ammunition, and guns.
Extortion and Protection Edit
Both Extortion and Protection are crimes with long histories and are lucrative sources of revenue for Maffi. Extortion is demanding money from an individual or a business, which, if not paid, will result in the individual or business being physically or financially harmed. Protection is money paid on a regular basis to Maffi to "protect" the individual or business from other criminals. In many cases the percieved 'other criminals' is a threat staged by Maffi itself to frighten the subject into compliance.
Extortion can range from the school bully demanding another student's lunch money to a mob such as Maffi extracting payment from immigrants newly arrived in the Corporate Sector or New Republic. Protection can be the local store paying 100cr a week to a Maffi cell or a large employer paying hundreds of thousands to ensure harmonious labor relations.
- In 13 ABY, Maffi helped newly arrived Twi'leks in New Kala'uun to find homes and work. The head clan of New Kala'uun was becomming infiltrated by Maffi members, the foremost of which was Tyy'sun Eson. By 14 ABY Tyy'sun had become the chairman of the Headclan and filled the New Kala'uun continent and offices with many of his criminal associates. Many Twi'lek immigrants, especially from Ryloth, are leaned on to pay a percentage of their weekly wage to Maffi extortionists, fearing violence and the loss of their jobs. Small businesses such as grocers, the apothacary and tattoo shop also pay "protection."
However Maffi is not confined to New Kala'uun. There are Maffi cells in nearly all major systems led by Lieutenents of varying degrees of power and influence. The Abbysal Ruins sector of Coruscant is one such breeding ground of Maffi influence that is growing today, and small businesses in the lower parts of the undercity are feeling the brunt of maffi Extortion and Protection.
On Bonadan, in the Corporate Sector Maffi wanted to make all importers and freighters pay a percentage to guarentee trouble-free loading and unloading of their goods. Violence and terror was the order of the day. One Resources Division man had his head pushed into a lighted stove to encourage compliance with the Maffi demands.
Blackmail is a simple crime. Maffi threatens to expose a Sentient's guilty secret unless money is paid or favors are granted. The payment or favor can be a "one off," or demands may carry on for an indeterminate period. Maffi is in control once the victim has agreed to their terms. The expression "blackmail" derives from the extortionist practice of threatening a victim by sending a letter with the imprint of a black hand on it. In the modern Galaxy, where politicians and public servants often lead lives under the continual gaze of a public fascinated by scandal, the least indiscretion, if disclosed, can lead to ruin.
Therefore, Maffi exploits the weaknesses of those that can grease the wheels of its illicit activities. This is particularly true of the Outer Rim where the salaries of officials are low and the rewards for cooperating with criminals high. The "gift" of a luxury speeder or of a vacation in return for a small favor may lead to an increase in the favors demanded in return. Similarly, the "honey trap," where an apparently happily married official is lured into a sexually compromising situation and then treatened with public humiliation unless favors are granted is an oft-employed tactic of the Maffi Syndicate.
The geographic region of the Galaxy determines the nature of the blackmail. In the Corporate Sector, where profit is the law - Executives are blackmailed with the threat of exposure to the CSA of their own financial crimes. In the New Republic, where politics abound and Senators from countless worlds are steeped in public scrutiny and democracy - Character assasination is the key.
Greenmail takes part of its name from the color of standard Corporate Sector credit chips. It describes the practice of buying shares in a company that is the target of a hostile takeover bid, and threatening to support the predator unless a financial reward is recieved. The payoff can be in cash or the purchase of the shares at an inflated price. It is in fact corporate blackmail, but it is legal.
Given the huge amount of revenue Maffi often times commands via its many operations and the fact that they need to launder those funds, in the less well-regulated financial markets of the Galaxy there are Maffi-backed corporate raiders who are manipulating their assets in just this way. The essence of greenmail is that it is not technically illegal and it offers another point of entry for dirty money into a cleaner arena of operations.
Credit Laundering Edit
In some circumstances, depending on the laws of a system, the greatest problem facing Maffi cells is how to legitimize their profits. In systems where banking is in its infancy, the simplest solution is to take over a bank. This is the case in some Outer Rim worlds where Maffi cells have bought or coerced their way into small banks and bureaus, which they use as conduits through which to process their cash.
For example providing illicit spice earns large amounts of cash that needs to be "cleaned up" in Imperial, CSA or New Republican controlled worlds where spice is highly illegal to smuggle and trade. The cleaning or 'laundering,' as it is known, requires that the money passes through some apparently cash rich legitimate business, such as a restaurant, shipping company, charity or a bank.
In the current underworld climate, Maffi credit laundering is a complex process, involving shell companies, tax havens, orders for non-existent products or services, corrupt or inept officials, bribery and huge amounts of credits moving in and out of bank accounts all over the Galaxy and Corporate Sector at mind-bumbing speed. One such operation is through Schaum, Yfarg, Welbig, Fabrico and Associates - a large Twi'lek based company from Ryloth which re-invests Maffi slave trade profits in the Corporate Sector. Sarhavian Eson is one of the enablers of this particular example.
While any individual member or band within the organization may own and operate their own starcraft, thus resulting in a fleet numbering in the thousands, the syndicate officially/unofficially maintains a few hundred starships ranging in size from CR90 Corvettes to Neutron Star class cruisers.
New Kala'uun Edit
The continent is a base of operations for the Maffi Syndicate, which not only lives and recruits there, but has nestled its Ruling Council into the very governing bodies of the settlement and plays a large role in the continent's overall politics and legislation.
Eson Manor Edit
Eson Manor rests on the Western Coast beaches of New Kala'uun, and presides as a safe house, headquarters and meeting place for Maffi and Zhao. Home to Tyy'sun Eson himself, yet also a business hub and waypoint, this structure is about as close as Maffi gets to 'home base'. Many meetings are held there, and many briefings and debriefings. If you are a Soldier or higher in rank - then you know where Eson Manor is and have a pass to enter. If you are a Pledge or Worker, chances are you either dont know it exists, or are a serving staff there.
Golden 'Shroom Casino Edit
Front: Nestled in The Annex, a mushroom farming community within Kassottak City and located near fields of illegal plants, the guady Golden 'Shroom curtails to the gambling vices of the surrounding community, commanding a handsome income for Maffi and Zhao, yet retains a legitimate stature and presence to those who do not know how to look deeper into the grapevine of the thriving betting tables.
Underworld: Aside from the obvious gambling operations, legal and illegal which are facilitated here, a booky ops, prostitution ring and credit laundering ops grace the shadows of this Syndicate holding. Private meeting rooms are available to Maffi and Zhao members of Soldier rank and higher, and a safe room for hiding out is also available.
Zasul Manor Edit
Zasul Manor is the newest edition to New Kala'uun. Located near Eson Manor in the Western Coast Beaches on the island, this large mansion provides a home for the high ranking Maffi member Adaze Zasul. This also serves as a headquarters for the Lieutenant to coordinate his own operations and host magnificent parties. The property is private and not easily accessed by intruders. Two guards stand in the opening outside the door at all times. Who knows who else might be watching.
Maffi / Zhao is comprised of ranks and positions operating within cells and divisions.
Ruling Council: The Maff Ruling Council is shrouded in secrecy, but most members of the Syndicate can say a few things about it with certainty: 1. It is chaired by Tyy'sun Eson. 2. It is exclusively Twi'lek. The Ruling Council is the mastermind behind the Maffi and Zhao Syndicate and is the highest Authority within. It's full membership is largely unknown, even by 'made' Maffi and Zhao associates.
Lieutenants: All Lieutenants are 'made'. Each Maffi Cell is lead by a Lieutenent, and most groupings of Syndicate teams and missions are lead by at least one Lieutenant. These beings are the cream of the crop in the Syndicate - they command the most power, aside from the Ruling Council, and they understand the most. They are to be respected at all times, and their edicts and commands on the field are to be followed to the letter. It is often the ambition of Enforcers and Soldiers to reach this covetted position within the Syndicate. Many have died trying to get there, as only the most loyal, most willing to put themselves into harm's way and most capable ever attain the rank of Lieutenant.
Enforcer: Enforcers are members who are more respected and empowered than Soldiers, and often many of them have attainted the position of 'made'. These beings are understood to be implimentors of edicts from the Ruling Council, and are often employed as messengers, containing a seal of authenticity from from the Council - or missions in which they exact punishment and vengeance on Syndicate members and outsiders alike when the wrath of the council has been awakened for one reason or another.
Soldier: The mainstay of Maffi - soldiers make up the majority of operatives in the Syndicate. They are fully accepted as members, which no question as to their loyalty. Most soldiers are not 'made' members of the organization, but rather comprise the vast array of informants, fighters, smugglers, lawyers, business executives, footmen and many untold other positions within. They understand the nature of the Syndicate, and are responsible for the labor and warfare which forges it's success. They are obediant to their superiors, and excercise authority over workers and pledges. When a Maffi solder walks into a room, those workers and pledges who are aware of their status will show the respect deserving of a being who often puts their life on the line in the field, and who's personal stake and investment into the Syndicate is far deeper than cassual. Soldiers are looked on with Honor by all Syndicate memebrs, and disrespect to a Soldier by Workers or Pledges is never tolerated.
Worker: Workers are a specialty class. Most Maffi members do participate in this rank, at least for a short time - but many sentients under the class of 'worker' are laymen and specialists, technicians and lawyers, who have little to no understanding of the true nature of their employers. In this way, workers are equivalent to pledges in terms of underworld authority and operations. Unlike pledges, however, workers often command a higher pay, having found their niche and enjoy their positions with no ambitions of advancement in a Syndicate sense. Many workers are not even aware they work for a criminal organization at all, and only know the front business or particular service they are concerned with.
Pledge: A pledge is a newly recruited individual who commands no authority, understands next to nothing about the Syndicate, and is often tested in various ways to ensure their integrety and focus is conducive to the organization. Pledges are typically of a criminal element and at least understand that they are entering the ranks of an illicit organization, and harbor ambitions for advancement therein.
Twi'janii: The Twi'janii are honored guest members of the family, who are loyal, yet permitted to have external loyalties. These members are often very powerful individuals from the Galactic arena.
Maffi: The Twi'lek Mafia, chaired by the ruling council, consists of Twi'lek's from New Kala'uun and abroad who all pool their resources to form a thriving, wealthy Organized Crime Syndicate with the intent of ruling the Galactic underworld and furthing the criminal agendas of its membership base.
Zhao: The Brotherhood of Zhao is the Non-Twi'lek division of the Maffi Syndicate. Non-Twi'leks cannot attain positions on the ruling council of the Maffi - only Twi'leks are afforded that elite opportunity. However, there are positions of leadership and importance throughout Zhao for non-Twi'leks as that branch is of great prominence to the overall success of the org. Maffi and Zhao form a symbiate circle - and neither properly functions without the other. Members of the Brotherhood of Zhao are often referred to by the Twi'lek Maffi as Kocceille Twi'lek or "friend of the Twi'lek" as translated to Basic.
Maffi / Zhao operations abroad are organized into Cells, which are typically designated by the System in which they operate and the type of operation.
- Coruscant Extortion
- Corellian Starship Racket
- Rishi Slaving
- Kashyyyk Smuggling Ops