M Matteo Messina Denaro, the boss of Italy’s Cosa Nostra Mafia, was arrested by police on Monday while being treated in a private health clinic in Palermo. Denaro had been on the run for more than a year and was considered one of the world’s most wanted men. According to prosecutor Maurizio de Lucia, he was apprehended after receiving treatment for an illness at the clinic. The 73-year-old is now being held in custody and is expected to be transferred to Milan to stand trial on mafia charges.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has tweeted that her country’s victory over the Mafia is a great one. This victory demonstrates that the state does not give up in the face of organized crime. The government has worked hard to reduce corruption and increase law enforcement, which have led to this win.
The Sicilian Mafia boss Messina Denaro, thought to have ordered dozens of Mafia-related murders, was given several life sentences in absentia for his many crimes, most notably in 1992 for his involvement in the separate murders of anti-Mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. Denaro’s cases are being appealed and he could be released from prison as early as 2019.
Messina Denaro, the alleged head of a powerful Mafia clan in Sicily, was taken into custody on Thursday morning after a raid carried out by more than 100 specialized agents with the anti-Mafia Carabinieri. The Maddalena clinic where he was arrested is a private clinic known for plastic surgery and other elective surgeries. It is not known what treatment Messina Denaro was receiving at the time of his arrest.
Messina Denaro, known as Diabolik, is regarded as one of the successors of Bernardo Provenzano, who was arrested while in hiding in a farmhouse outside Corleone, Sicily, in 2006. Diabolik is considered to be the head of the Sicilian Mafia and is one of Italy’s most wanted fugitives. He has been linked to several murders and terrorist attacks.
While on the run from Interpol, Mafia don Messina Denaro maintained several relationships. One of these was with his fiancée, Franca Alagna. They had a daughter together, Lorenza. Denaro also had a high-profile affair with an Austrian hotel worker. The two travelled to Greece on vacation despite his being on Interpol’s most-wanted list.