Most-wanted mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro arrested in Palermo


YEREVAN, JANUARY 16, ARTSAKHPRESS. Matteo Messina Denaro, the last “godfather” of the Sicilian mafia and one of the world’s most-wanted criminals, has been arrested in Palermo after 30 years on the run, the Guardian reports.

Denaro, 60, who has been in hiding since 1993, was apprehended in a private clinic in the Sicilian city.

The mobster was once considered a candidate to be the Sicilian mafia’s boss of bosses, after the deaths of Bernardo Provenzano in 2016 and Salvatore Riina in 2017.

Nicknamed Diabolik or U Siccu (the skinny one), Denaro was born in Castelvetrano, Sicily, in 1962. His father was a powerful Cosa Nostra boss, and Denaro thrived in the family business, building an illicit multibillion euro empire in the waste, wind energy and retail sectors.

According to mafia informers and prosecutors, he holds the key to some of the most heinous crimes perpetrated by the Sicilian mafia, including the bomb attacks that killed the legendary anti-mafia magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. In 2002, he was convicted and sentenced in absentia to life in jail for having personally killed or ordered the murder of dozens of people.

The mobster, who once infamously claimed, “I filled a cemetery, all by myself”, has apparently kept up his luxurious lifestyle, thanks to several bankrollers who, according to prosecutors, include politicians and businessmen. Over the years, dozens of people have been arrested in his place in cases of mistaken identity. Now Denaro is no longer a free man, investigators will attempt to piece together his long period in hiding, including where he was sheltered and the network of people who protected him.

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