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Entries in Matteo Messina Denaro (17)


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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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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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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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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Sicily’s Scarface: Is This Retired Cop a Former Mafia Hit Man?

Numerous witnesses place a man “with the face of a monster” at the scene of notorious Mafia crimes. Most agree he worked on behalf of Italian Secret Services.

by Carl Russo

Giovanni AielloACROSS FROM PALERMO’S palm and plane-shrouded Piazza della Vittoria lie the headquarters of Sicily’s state police department, accessible to authorized personnel through an arched entrance in a stately old villa. This genteel setting can turn in an instant to a scene of pandemonium following the arrest of a Mafia boss; squadrons of police cars, sirens screaming and lights strobing, descend upon the station like a military blitz. Crowds of citizens who’ve heard the news gather to cheer as one or another godfather of notoriety is frogmarched through the archway by his hooded captors.

It was during a moment of quiet at the department, in early 2014, when a 48-year-old Sicilian woman approached the armed guards stationed just inside the archway. Her ordinary appearance belied her pedigree as Mafia royalty. She was Giovanna Galatolo, daughter of a dynastic clan that controlled Palermo’s lucrative produce market for more than half a century. Her father, brothers, uncles and cousins were integral pieces of a killing machine that eradicated a slew of police officials and judges back when when capomafia Totò Riina ran the Sicilian mob, a generation ago. Now Giovanna was ready to betray her family to the police. “My life is my own,” she told a magistrate. “They can’t control me.”

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Sacred and Profane: The Heavens Open Above a Mafia Stronghold

The Sistine Chapel of Sicily is restored after 46 years in the dark, and Riina sings (by accident)

by Carl Russo

Totò RiinaTRAVELERS FOLLOWING the itineraries of my new book, The Sicilian Mafia: A True Crime Travel Guide, might be surprised to encounter something beautiful in Castelvetrano, a city darkened by its criminal history. Notorious as the place where the bandit Salvatore Giuliano was gunned down, and now the home base of fugitive boss Matteo Messina Denaro, the Castelvetranesi can be proud of one thing: they’ve got the Sistine Chapel of Sicily.

Beginning today, the first time since the great quake of 1968 forced its closure, worshippers and wanderers alike may behold one of the finest spectacles the Late Renaissance has to offer: a sixteenth-century masterpiece by Antonino Ferraro of Giuliana, Sicily.

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