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Sunday
Jan032016

It’s Curtains, Rocco! Lights Out at Mafia Exposed

Mother of Mercy, is this the end of Russo?

by Carl Russo

AFTER FIVE YEARS of posting articles about Cosa Nostra and related photographs, it’s time to unplug Mafia Exposed—at least for now. I find it difficult to keep a regular schedule of producing these pieces, which require long hours of research, translation, and editing. It’s also quite expensive to make my archive of photographs available online, and to keep the whole thing free of advertising.

Mafia Exposed, however, will maintain a web presence on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, so please follow me there. If anything, I’ll post more frequently than I have on this blog, in shorter form that leaves me time to pursue other projects (some crime-related, others utterly unrelated). I feel the birth pangs of another blog or website for the near future, so please stay tuned via social media.

For now, I thank everyone who has purchased my book, come to the signings, contributed to the conversation, and offered hot tips about Mafia ne’er-do-wells and their families. (I know that the relatives of most-wanted godfather Matteo Messina Denaro will be broken up over the closing of this blog.) Lights will dim around February 10 or so.

I may still be contacted at Carl[at]MafiaExposed[dot]com for press interviews and generous offers of textual employment. Arrivederci a presto!

Saturday
Nov072015

The Shakedown Shutdown

21 squeeze artists arrested in mob-infested Bagheria (and other good news)

by Carl Russo

Massimo Carminati“BASTA!”—“ENOUGH!”—was the cry of three dozen businessmen shaken down to the brink of poverty in Bagheria, a moldering baroque city long controlled by the Sicilian Mafia. The so-called “shopkeepers revolt” took a sledgehammer to the mob’s extortion racket and made headlines from the New York Times to the Napa Valley Register. This comes as a fresh change following recent news of child killings and flamboyant funerals.

From supermarkets to apparel shops to gambling rooms, everybody paid off Bagheria’s bagmen—or else. “No one should suck the blood of my children,” said one exasperated shopkeeper forced to offer cash “gifts” to a parasitical boss. The merchants’ willingness to name names, along with the cooperation of former gangster Sergio Flamia, helped police capture twenty-one extortioners.

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Wednesday
Sep232015

Married to the Mob: Messina Denaro Wedding Cancelled?

Daughter of boss and son of industry appear headed for Splitsville

by Carl Russo

Matteo Messina DenaroA BLANKET OF PARANOIA as thick as London’s famed fog is blamed for disrupting that city’s mob-tainted wedding scheduled for this weekend. Luciana Messina Denaro, the thirty-year-old daughter of Italy’s most-wanted Mafia boss, was expected to wed businessman Gordon B. on September 26, but friends in both camps say the couple is headed for a split-up.

The pressures of arranging a high-profile ceremony at Saint Peter’s Church followed by an opulent, gold-themed reception—location secret and cellphones verboten—may have proven insurmountable. Fears of paparazzi, Scotland Yard, and violence are being blamed for dooming the affair. Friends say that Gordon’s guests were suddenly disinvited last week.

The specter of fugitive gangster Matteo Messina Denaro has apparently loomed over the lovers from the beginning. Murder tops his mile-long rap sheet, which hasn’t prevented him from trotting across Europe on dirty business trips, according to anti-Mafia prosecutor Teresa Principato.

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Sunday
Sep132015

Danger Diabolik! (Lock Your Doors, London!)

Tabloid news of a comic book villain

by Carl Russo

DiabolikA HORROR-GANGSTER MOVIE title headlines this recent clipping from British tabloid The Sun, sent by one of my spies in the UK. The content was apparently lifted from Mafia Exposed’s July 1 scoop, and alludes to a statement made by Palermo anti-Mafia prosecutor Teresa Principato.

According to Principato, top Mafia fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro floats across European borders with trickery and ease, which brings to mind Diabolik, the comic-book super-villain he famously idolizes. But to date, Principato’s is the only official claim that the Sicilian boss of bosses has ventured recently to the UK, where his daughter Luciana has lived for years and will wed this month.

“He leaves Sicily and crosses national borders,” Principato told Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano in August. “We have evidence of his presence in Brazil, Spain, Great Britain, Austria. He travels for bus

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Saturday
Aug152015

It’s the Cheese: Why We Love Our Mafia Shin-Deep in Sheep Dip

The ingredient that gives Mafia news that old-world flavor

by Carl Russo

I CAN TELL A CERTAIN news item about the Italian Mafia has gone really big as soon as friends and relatives start sending me the media links. Often these reports of arrests, attacks, and assassinations come with an exotic flair that conforms to our stereotypical view of the mob. Without a touch of the Hollywood—secret initiation rites, a bullet between the eyes—the news doesn’t travel beyond Italy. But when there’s an element of food involved, especially cheese, the story sprouts legs and takes off running.

“I’ve put the ricotta aside for you,” was the opening quote in several news articles about the media-dubbed “Mafia sheep code” that went viral this month. That statement and similar ciphers, recorded by police wiretaps, were made by a pair of Sicilian sheep grazers whenever a message from fugitive godfather Matteo Messina Denaro was ready for pickup. The two shepherds and nine other accomplices were arrested on August 3, the culmination of a five-year investigation and the latest roundup in actions that have bagged the capomafia’s sister, cousin and various in-laws.

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Wednesday
Jul012015

Lucky Luciana: Daughter of Boss Messina Denaro to Be Married in London, Says Tipster

Leaked details include bejeweled invitation to luxe affair

by Carl Russo

Matteo Messina DenaroTHE RECLUSIVE DAUGHTER of Italy’s most-wanted gangster will be married in London this September, according to a tip received by Mafia Exposed. While details remain unconfirmed, the source claims to be close to the bride, and has forwarded materials related to the event.

UK resident Luciana is said to be thirty years old and the eldest daughter of Sicilian godfather Matteo Messina Denaro, a.k.a. Diabolik, a multibillionaire sought since 1993 for Mafia crimes that include drug trafficking and murder.

The fugitive Messina Denaro is the target of Italy’s most intense manhunt, and for that reason is not expected to give away Luciana to one Gordon at the ceremony.

But might the reception afterward be the UK underworld’s fête of the year? Former London jewel thief Jimmy Tippett Jr. tipped it, if you will, with a Facebook boast. “You know your going up in the world,” wrote the author of the memoir Born Gangster, “when you get personally invited to billionaire Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro’s daughter Luciana’s wedding.”

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