Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Royal decree on low-cut tops

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin?

Read more

FOCUS

Bangladesh: Textile workers' lives still at risk?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

WEB NEWS

NYPD's online campaign backfires

Read more

ENCORE!

Celebrating the Bard's birthday in Britain

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate of the East Asia Program, Stimson Center

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

USA: Executions halted over drugs secrecy

Read more

  • Russia orders military drills as Ukraine moves on separatists

    Read more

  • Israel halts Middle East peace talks over Hamas deal

    Read more

  • A radio station defends peace and tolerance in CAR

    Read more

  • Fresh clashes in Rio over dancer's death

    Read more

  • US would defend Japan in islands dispute, Obama says

    Read more

  • Platini: PSG in danger over Financial Fair Play rules

    Read more

  • Afghan guard kills US doctors in Kabul hospital attack

    Read more

  • Ségolène Royal denies banning cleavage at French ministry

    Read more

  • Palestinian unity deal stirs anger in Israel

    Read more

  • Video: Mayor in east Ukraine ready ‘to turn Slaviansk into battlefield’

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • Millions of Syrians desperately need aid, says UN

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

Europe

Police arrest 19 accused of helping mafia 'godfather'

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-15

Italian police swooped on the brother of leading mafia ‘godfather’ Matteo Messina Denaro and 18 others Monday, who all stand accused of helping the Cosa Nostra chief avoid capture. Denaro has been on the run since 1993.

REUTERS - Authorities said they had arrested the brother of Italy's most wanted mafioso on Monday, along with 18 others accused of helping Sicilian boss Matteo Messina Denaro avoid capture.

In operation "Golem 2", more than 200 police from Palermo and Trapani in Sicily arrested Salvatore Messina Denaro.

He was arrested along with others who authorities said were members of a network surrounding the "boss of bosses" of the Cosa Nostra, who has been on the run since 1993.

The detainees face charges of organising godfather Messina Denaro's secret correspondence "in order to help him remain on the run", said a police statement. Other charges include mafia association, corruption and protection rackets.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the latest arrests were the result of one of the most important police operations of the last decade, greatly increasing the chances of catching Messina Denaro.

"We have dismantled the postal system of the most dangerous boss," said Maroni in a statement. "The net is closing in on him and I'm optimistic we'll be able to capture him soon."

Detectives believe the crime boss is hiding out close to his family home at Castelvetrano, near Trapani, and is moving between safe houses.

Like previous fugitive godfathers, Messina Denaro controls the mob by sending secret "pizzini" -- tiny pieces of paper typed on wafer-thin paper and hidden between the messenger's toes -- which are used to communicate between mafia lieutenants.


Police have inflicted major blows on the mafia with the arrests of several top godfathers in recent years, including Bernardo "the Tractor" Provenzano in 2006 and his successor, Salvatore Lo Piccolo, in 2007.


It is not clear if the arrests have had any impact on the business interests of "Mafia Inc". Small business and retailers' association Confesercenti -- whose members bear the brunt of mafia extortion -- says the main crime syndicates bucked the recession last year to raise 'profits' by almost 8 percent.


Messina Denaro, nicknamed "Diabolik" after a comic-book character, has a playboy image. He learnt to shoot a gun at 14 and is wanted for the murders of at least 50 people.


He once bragged he had killed enough "to fill a cemetery" and made his reputation by murdering rival boss Vincenzo Milazzo and strangling Milazzo's three-months pregnant girlfriend.


In May 2002, Messina Denaro was sentenced to life in absentia for his part in the 1993 mafia bombing campaign on "civilian" targets in Milan, Florence and Rome, which left 10 people dead and more than 90 injured.
 

Date created : 2010-03-15

  • ITALY

    Mafia boss denies ties to Berlusconi

    Read more

  • ORGANISED CRIME

    Italian police arrest fugitive Sicilian mafia boss

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Top mafia brothers are caught in weekend of high-profile arrests

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)