Rome / Milan
Matteo Messina Denaro, one of many bosses of Cosa Nostra Mafia Police arrested in Sicily and Italy’s most wished man whereas he was receiving therapy at a personal well being clinic in Palermo, prosecutor Maurizio de Lucia mentioned on Monday.
De Lucia informed CNN he had been on the run since 1993 and was thought of one in every of Europe’s most wished males by Europol.
The pinnacle of the Italian police, Lamberto Giannini, mentioned in an announcement that he congratulated the Carabinieri – Italy’s army police – and Palermo, the Public Prosecutor’s Workplace.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni tweeted: “An awesome victory for the state, which reveals that it doesn’t hand over within the face of the mafia.”
Protection Minister Guido Croceto referred to as the arrest “an indication of the state’s victory over the mafia”.
Talking outdoors the general public prosecutor’s workplace, Meloni mentioned that whereas Italy had not but gained the “conflict” in opposition to the mafia, it was “a necessary battle to win”.
“It’s a day once we have fun and inform our kids that the mafia might be defeated,” she mentioned.
Messina Denaro is believed to have ordered dozens of mafia-related murders, and has been sentenced to life in jail a number of instances for his quite a few crimes, most notably in 1992 for his involvement in separate murders of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
He was just lately sentenced to life in jail in 2020 for the lethal bombings in Milan, Florence and Rome within the late Nineteen Nineties, and for the homicide and torture of the 11-year-old son of an enemy who gave proof in opposition to the Sicilian Cosa Nostra.
Having been a wished man for almost 30 years, he has been the longest-running hiding Cosa Notra fugitive.
Messina Denaro was taken into custody round 10 am native time after a raid carried out by greater than 100 specialised brokers with the anti-Mafia Carabinieri within the early hours of the morning. The Maddalena clinic the place he was arrested is a personal clinic identified for cosmetic surgery and different elective surgical procedures. It’s not identified what sort of therapy Messina Denaro was receiving.
The Carabinieri’s press workplace informed CNN on Monday that it was being held in a “secret location”.
In recent times, anti-mafia safety forces have been closing in on Messina Denaro, seizing some 3 billion euros ($3.25 billion) in property belonging to associates, family and associates believed to be supporting his life in hiding, making arrests between 2009 and 2010.
Messina Denaro – higher referred to as Diabolic – is taken into account one of many successors to Bernardo Provenzano, who was captured whereas hiding on a farm outdoors Corleone, Sicily, in April 2006.
The crime was a household affair for Messina Denaro, born to a well known Sicilian mafia boss on April 26, 1962. Amongst these arrested within the 2009-10 crackdown was his brother, Salvatore Messina Denaro, who refused to testify about his whereabouts.
In 2013, his sister, Patricia Messina Denaro, was sentenced to 14 years in jail, a time period she continues to be serving, for being a member of the mafia.
Whereas in hiding, Messina Denaro maintained a number of romantic relationships, together with along with his fiancée, Franca Algnau, with whom he had a daughter, Lorenza. One other distinguished liaison was with an Austrian lodge employee, who bragged that the 2 had traveled to Greece on trip regardless of him being on Europol’s wished listing.
Through the years, there have been many failed makes an attempt to arrest him.
In Might 2011, the police believed they have been watching Messina Denaro at a farm close to his hometown of Castelvetrano, however didn’t arrest him regardless of the involvement of tons of of officers. His DNA was later discovered on the web site.
Including to the police’s embarrassment was the arrest of a British man in a restaurant in The Hague in 2021, after anti-mafia police wrongly recognized him as Messina Denaro.
Suspicion of him being seen in a automotive in September of that yr led to a manhunt and tons of of suggestions, the prosecutor mentioned.