Strong loyalty to the clan and the local population helped Mafia boss Messina Denaro stay in hiding

  • The final mafia godfather loved an unusually sturdy loyalty
  • Omerta’s legislation of silence additionally helped the president keep in hiding
  • The final “godfather” Messina Denaro lived close to his mom

PALERMO, Italy (January 25) (Reuters) – When Salvatore Catalano found that Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro was residing a brief distance from his residence in Campobello di Mazara in western Sicily, he fell unwell.

Catalano’s brother, Agostino, was a policeman who died in a bomb blast in 1992 that killed anti-mob decide Paolo Borsellino — an assault prosecutors say Messina Denaro helped orchestrate.

“There may be anger in my coronary heart and soul now that I do know he was right here and I did not acknowledge him,” Catalano informed Reuters.

Messina Denaro, 60, was arrested on January 16, 30 years after she fled. Police imagine he has spent a lot of the previous 12 months hiding in plain sight in Campobello de Mazara, a city of about 11,000, a brief drive from his mom’s home.

“We celebrated the arrest with my household. He’s in jail and can now be topic to strict detention guidelines,” Catalano stated.

The final confirmed sighting of Messina Denaro was in 1993, which made it tough for the police to determine Italy’s most wished man. Authorities stated he appeared to steer an open life within the city, searching for himself on the native grocery store.

Prosecutors say their hunt was additional difficult by the unusually sturdy loyalty he acquired from members of his clan in western Sicily.

Reuters interviewed dozens of residents on the streets of Campobello and from his close by hometown of Castelvetrano, in addition to prosecutors and police who helped observe him down.

They reveal the struggles confronted by the investigators making an attempt to interrupt by means of the mafia wall of “omerta”, or code of silence, which has damaged down in different elements of Sicily however nonetheless holds up round Messina Denaro, whom the Italian press dubbed “the final godfather”.

“I’ve arrested no less than 200 folks in reference to him. Solely certainly one of them determined to cooperate with justice,” stated Roberto Piscitello, the prosecutor who tried to arrest Messina Denaro from 1996 to 2008.

“Within the neighboring provinces of Palermo and Agrigento, 5 out of 10 of these arrested have grow to be apostates,” he informed Reuters, talking from his residence in Marsala on the western tip of Sicily.

Ultimately, it was not the gangsters of Messina Denaro who betrayed him, however his failing physique.

false identification

Police stated they managed to arrest Messina Denaro after studying from a wiretap of his family members that he had most cancers.

They’d lengthy suspected that he lived in his native Sicily, and a radical examination of most cancers sufferers within the space revealed {that a} man named Andrea Bonafede had undergone surgical procedure within the western metropolis of Mazara del Vallo on the similar time his cellphone was lively within the space. One other a part of the island.

Courtroom paperwork seen by Reuters confirmed that investigators thought of this the “first important affirmation” that Messina Denaro may have been hidden below that false identification, as a result of they indicated that the person who carried out the operation was not the true Andrea Bonafede, who was speculated to have been with him. Phone.

They obtain the affected person and be taught that he’s scheduled to obtain routine chemotherapy within the island’s capital, Palermo, on January 16.

The police surrounded the clinic and swooped in after the affected person arrived for his appointment. He instantly admitted his true identification, however appeared to squander any hopes that he would finish his lifetime of crime.

“I’ve my very own code of honor,” a legislation enforcement supply quoted him as telling the judges once they first met him, referring to the Sicilian Mafia’s rule, which has deteriorated drastically over the previous 30 years, to not speak concerning the group to anybody on the skin.

His silence implies that investigators should attempt to piece collectively the absolute best approach to keep away from detection over time.

The preliminary focus of the investigation is on the true Andrea Bonafide, a skilled surveyor with no felony report.

Prosecutors stated that Bonafide confirmed figuring out Messina Denaro from a younger age and confessed to purchasing the gangster an house in Campobello de Mazara. He himself is below arrest and has not commented publicly on the case.

The police are additionally investigating his driver, Giovanni Luppino, an olive grower who additionally has no police report. He was carrying a key and turned off each telephones, in what judges stated was an try to forestall him from being tracked.

He denied figuring out the true identification of his passenger.

Palermo prosecutor Maurizio de Lucia informed Reuters that males like Bonafede symbolize the “first hyperlink” within the fugitive matrix – those that supplied for his fundamental wants.

However he believes his assist community is deeply rooted.

“His lands have helped him for a few years. It’s affordable to imagine that he has been protected by professionals and businessmen,” he stated.

Amongst these already below investigation for aiding and abetting his boss is his physician, Alfonso Tombarello. His lawyer stated he was assured his shopper may show his innocence.

Enterprise contacts

The judges stated they discovered proof that Messina Denaro visited Spain, Greece and Austria over time. However the primary focus of his enterprise actions remained in western Sicily, which implies that he most likely spent most of his time on the island.

Dozens of lower-level mafiosi have been arrested within the space over time — a thinning from Messina Denaro’s interior circle who judges stated repeatedly interrupted promising leads they hoped would at some point take them to his boss.

“(However) we can’t sacrifice justice. We can’t depart the gangs on the streets,” prosecutor Paulo Guido, who has led the lengthy hunt for his boss in previous years, informed Reuters.

Prosecutors stated the mob boss cultivated a broad vary of economic pursuits that went past conventional Mafia considerations, serving to him create a loyal community of white-collar professionals.

A secret recording made in jail in 2013 revealed that the previous boss of bosses, Salvatore “The Beast” Reyna, had complained that his one-time proteges have been investing in renewable power tasks fairly than specializing in the militant mafia’s actions.

“Within the context of Sicily, those that are believed to create jobs and the potential for doing enterprise are given consensus and safety,” stated Col. Antonello Paraceletti Mollica, who heads the Particular Forces Anti-Crime Unit in Palermo.

Writing by Angelo Amanti; Modifying by Crispian Palmer and Ross Colvin

Our requirements: Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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