The “godfather” of the mafia was on the list of the most wanted criminals in the world as the leader of the powerful criminal organization Cosa Nostra, specialized in drug trafficking, prostitution, extortion and money laundering.
The face of the mafia leader was almost unknown before his capture, on January 16, and was based on reconstructions made through computers.
The leader of Cosa Nostra managed to spend years and decades hiding on an island like Sicily, because he did not use cell phones or electronic communications, although he booked the medical examinations that led to his capture under a false name and electronically.
Matteo Messina Denaro was arrested in a private clinic, where he had been going for a year to receive chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
Immediately afterwards, Messina Denaro, wearing a brown fur coat, hat and a watch valued at 35,000 euros, was placed in a police van and taken out of the clinic wrapped in a strong security device, while some police officers hugged and congratulated each other.
His driver, Giovanni Luppino, “an unknown subject”, was arrested with him, something obvious considering that the last thing he wanted was to attract attention.
Facing numerous life sentences, he was held in a high-security prison in L’Aquila, where he reportedly continued treatment in his cell.
But in early August, Messina Denaro was transferred to the inmate ward of the local hospital, where his condition worsened in recent days.
Who was Matteo Messina Denaro?
Messina Denaro was for many years a leading figure in Cosa Nostra, the real-life Sicilian crime syndicate depicted in the Godfather films.
He was also one of the most ruthless, sentenced to life in prison six times, including for his role in the murder of anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone in 1992.
He was also convicted of participating in a series of deadly attacks in Rome, Florence and Milan in 1993, and of the kidnapping and subsequent murder of the 12-year-old son of a witness in the Falcone case.
Messina Denaro disappeared in the summer of 1993 and went on to top the list of Italy’s most wanted people.
With information from AFP