Italy’s most wanted mafioso
Cosa Nostra boss had Swiss accomplices!
Italy’s most wanted criminal has been on the run for over 30 years. This was possible, among other things, thanks to accomplices in Basel, Lugano, Bellinzona and Locarno – and thanks to Swiss accounts.
Published: 12 minutes ago
For three decades there was no photo of Matteo Messina Denaro (61). Now the carabinieri released the current picture of the Mafia boss of Cosa Nostra.
Myrtle MuellerOutside Reporter News
For three decades, Matteo Messina Denaro (61) seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth. During this time, the boss of the bosses of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra succeeds in building an empire. His fortune is estimated at five billion francs.
Switzerland also played a decisive role – as a temporary place of residence, a market for valuable stolen goods, but also as an effective money laundering facility. This is proven by the confessions of former mafiosi, so-called pentiti.
The mafia boss supported his family with the stolen art
The “Swiss Connection” begins with Denaro’s father. Francesco Messina Denaro (1928-1998) was already a mafia boss. Don Ciccio had excavation sites and temples plundered. Later thefts in museums were added. The booty reached Basel via the Sicilian Gianfranco B.* (83). Archaeological finds and looted art that were smuggled from the 1970s to the 1990s were sold to international museums and private collectors from his antiques shop, the Palladion Gallery.
Matteo Messina Denaro later took over the business. In the course of a mafia investigation in 2001, five warehouses in Basel were sealed and thousands of antique works of art were confiscated. Although Gianfranco B. was suspected of directing an army of robber graves from Basel, the Sicilian was never convicted.
The famous ex-mafioso Giovanni Brusca (59) also talks about the illegal art trade on a large scale. Switzerland was the main hub of the Cosa Nostra. The boss himself also traveled to Basel several times – among other things to buy Swiss war weapons.
Millions laundered into accounts
The Cosa Nostra is also leaving its mark in Ticino. Mafia lawyer Antonio M.* (77) was arrested in a pizzeria in Arbedo-Castione in August 1993 and extradited to Italy in November. Reason for the legal assistance: M. laundered black money from Matteo Messina Denaro via accounts in Lugano.
In the run-up to Expo 2015 in Milan (I), orders worth 18 million euros were suddenly awarded to companies controlled by Matteo Messina Denaro. A certain Domenico S.* (55), once living in Locarno, is said to have kept part of the money in Ticino bank accounts. S., a Ticino with Sicilian roots, provided Denaro with Swiss credit cards and served as a courier, investigations by the southern Italian public prosecutor showed. In 2018, Domenico S., known as Mimmo for short, was sentenced to life imprisonment in Sicily for murder.
The federal prosecutor’s office is also active. On April 29, 2014, as part of a joint investigation team with the anti-mafia authorities in Palermo (I), she opened criminal proceedings against unknown persons on suspicion of money laundering. Since the investigations carried out in Switzerland were not sufficient to substantiate a suspicion, the criminal proceedings were discontinued on May 4, 2016, the federal prosecutor explained to Blick.