Matteo Messina Denaro, one of many bosses of the Cosa Nostra Mafia in Sicily and Italy’s most needed man, has been arrested by police whereas being handled in a non-public well being clinic in Palermo, prosecutor Maurizio de Lucia mentioned Monday.
He had been a fugitive since 1993 and was thought-about by Europol one of the needed males in Europe, de Lucia instructed CNN.
“It’s a victory for all of the police forces which have labored collectively over these lengthy years to deliver the damaging fugitive to justice,” Italy’s chief of Police, Lamberto Giannini, mentioned in an announcement congratulating the Carabinieri – Italy’s army police – and the Palermo Public Prosecutor’s Workplace.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni tweeted: “An important victory for the state, which demonstrates that it doesn’t quit within the face of the Mafia.”
Protection Minister Guido Crosetto referred to as the arrest “an indication of a state that wins towards Mafia.”
Talking outdoors the prosecutor’s workplace, Meloni mentioned that whereas Italy had not but gained the “warfare” towards the Mafia, this was a “battle that was basic to win.”
“It’s a day we are able to rejoice and inform our youngsters that the Mafia will be defeated,” she mentioned.
Messina Denaro is assumed to have ordered dozens of Mafia-related murders, and was given a number of life sentences in absentia for his many crimes, most notably in 1992 for his involvement within the separate murders of anti-Mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
He acquired his most up-to-date life sentence in 2020 for deadly bombings in Milan, Florence and Rome within the late Nineties, and for the homicide and torture of the 11-year-old son of an enemy who gave proof towards the Sicilian Cosa Nostra.
Having been a needed man for almost 30 years, he was Cosa Notra’s longest-hiding fugitive.
Messina Denaro was taken into custody round 10 a.m. 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 non-public clinic identified for cosmetic surgery and different elective surgical procedures. It’s not identified what remedy Messina Denaro was receiving.
The Carabinieri press workplace instructed CNN on Monday that he’s being held in a “secret location.”
Lately, anti-Mafia safety forces have been closing in on Messina Denaro’s circle, seizing round €3 billion ($3.25 billion) in property belonging to companions, kin and associates regarded as supporting his life in hiding, and making arrests between 2009 and 2010.
Messina Denaro – generally known as Diabolik – is thought to be one of many successors of Bernardo Provenzano, who was arrested whereas in hiding in a farmhouse outdoors Corleone, Sicily, in April 2006.
Crime was a household affair for Messina Denaro, born to a identified Mafia boss in Sicily on April 26, 1962. Amongst these arrested within the 2009-2010 crackdown was his brother, Salvatore Messina Denaro, who refused to testify about his whereabouts.
In 2013, his sister, Patrizia Messina Denaro, was sentenced to 14 years in jail, a time period she remains 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 Alagna, with whom he had a daughter, Lorenza. One other of his high-profile liaisons was with an Austrian lodge employee, who bragged that the 2 of them traveled to Greece on trip regardless of his being on Europol’s most-wanted record.
Over time, there have been quite a few failed makes an attempt to arrest him.
In Might 2011, police believed they had been surveiling Messina Denaro at a farmhouse close to his dwelling city of Castelvetrano, however they didn’t seize him regardless of the involvement of a whole lot of officers. His DNA was later discovered on the web site.
Including to police embarrassment was the arrest of a British man at a restaurant in The Hague in 2021, after the anti-Mafia police wrongfully recognized him as Messina Denaro.
A suspected sighting of him in a automotive in September that yr led to a manhunt and a whole lot of ideas, the prosecutor mentioned.