Cosa Nostra Kingpin’s business empire includes supermarkets, resorts and wind farms

Cosa Nostra Kingpin’s business empire includes supermarkets, resorts and wind farms

ROME A veritable business empire of around $5 billion (26 billion reals) has been seized by “straw men.” Matteo Messina Denaro, the last boss of Cosa Nostra, was arrested on Monday the 16th after 30 years on the run. According to investigators, the fortune of the leader of the Sicilian mafia could be even greater.

The leader of the dreaded criminal organization “laundered” part of his vast fortune that started with the drug trafficking into legal activities including a network of wind farms, tourist resorts, buildings, supermarkets and works of art in the 1980s and 1990s. According to business daily Il Sole24Ore, the mafia boss used “oranges” to launder dirty money.

The Italian AntiMafia Investigative Directorate (DIA) believes that thanks to the complicity of businessmen, professionals and friends, Denaro has built an empire that even reaches other countries, including several in Latin America.

Matteo Messina Denaro was arrested this Monday the 16th after spending 30 years on the run.Matteo Messina Denaro was arrested this Monday the 16th after spending 30 years on the run. Photo: Carabinieri via AP

“The king has been discovered, now we are looking for his treasure,” said investigators from the police, who specialize in whitecollar crime.

“There is no doubt that your fortune is greater. The previous calculation is based on police operations, for example in the supermarket sector and in wind farms,” ​​Eleonora Montani, a criminal law professor at Bocconi University and a member of the Milan antimafia committee, told Rai News24.

“Organized crime is invading the sectors it can invade. The mafia does not invest for the benefit of society, but to generate profits for it,” he said.

La Repubblica newspaper guarantees that Matteo Messina Denaro used professionals like electricians and butchers to launder dirty money, who were true financial wizards.

Find out more about Matteo Messina Denaro

“In 2018, DIA ordered the confiscation of the assets of Carmelo Patti, an electrician from Pavia [norte]but of Sicilian origin, who in a few years became one of the five richest men in Italy “with Valtur, a chain of hotels and resorts, says the newspaper.

According to the latest DIA report, which can be viewed online, the feared organization is not only investing in Sicily. It also launders money in several countries and tax havens.

For Giuseppe Pipitone, Sicilian journalist and mafia expert, Matteo Messina Denaro’s ties to Latin America date back to the mid20th century.

A police officer guards the courthouse in Caltanissetta, Sicily, where Cosa Nostra boss Matteo Messina Denaro died on Thursday, April 19.A police officer guards the court in Caltanissetta, Sicily, where Cosa Nostra boss Matteo Messina Denaro is scheduled to testify via video on Thursday, April 19. Photo: Miguel Medina/ AFP

These ties are close thanks to his father “don Ciccio” Messina Denaro, also a local mafia boss, a close friend of the CuntreraCaruana mafia family. Known as “the bankers of Cosa Nostra”, they played a key role in drug trafficking and money laundering between the 1980s and 1990s.

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“The Cuntrera and Caruana families immigrated to Canada, then Britain, and finally Venezuela, where they quickly became the largest drug traffickers in the world,” capitalizing on their connections to Colombian cocaine kingpins.

The special edition of the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano dedicated to the mafia, coordinated by Pipitone and published last year, quotes a penitent mobster as saying Matteo Messina Denaro poured $5 million (26 million real) into a farm 20 years ago invested because of his friends in Venezuela. “Chickens or cocaine?” he asked./ AFP