Police Seize Olive Companies Allegedly Owned by Sicilian Boss of Bosses

Police in Sicily seized four olive companies, including farmland and villas allegedly owned by Matteo Messina Denaro, the powerful Cosa Nostra boss on the run since 1993.

Prosecutors allege that a Denaro confidant was listed as the owner of the businesses -- as well as 108 properties, plus vehicles and bank accounts.

Sicily's most powerful boss Matteo Messina Denaro on the run 25 years
2001 magazine that gave Denaro national renown.

The property, based in western Sicily, was confiscated yesterday and is believed to be Denaro’s power base. It has an estimated worth of around $14 million.

Matteo Messina Denaro is Italy’s most-wanted fugitive. He's been on the lam for nearly 25 years and is considered one of the most powerful bosses in the Sicilian Cosa Nostra.






Known as Diabolik, after the Italian comic book character, he supposedly is one of the new leaders to rise to power following major arrests of mob bosses including Bernardo Provenzano and Salvatore Lo Piccolo (in 2006 and 2007, respectively).

The Sicilian Cosa Nostra's playing field was thinned even more in 2008, when some 1,200 Carabinieri arrested more than 90 veteran Mafiosi, including Salvatore Lombardo, the 87-year-old alleged boss of Montelepre. Supposedly they were seeking to revive the Cupola. Police swept Sicily from Palermo to Tuscany, scooping up 94 in total.


Denaro gained prominence across Italy in April 2001 when L'Espresso magazine featured him on its cover, touting him the new boss of the Mafia.

Forbes magazine pegged him as among the 10 most-wanted criminals in the world.

Italy farm lobby Coldiretti estimates the various Mafias earn billions from muscling companies into selling their mozzarella and other agricultural products.

The above image was created by Italian state police in a Palermo forensics laboratory. It shows a computer rendition of what Denaro possibly looks like in recent times.


Pizzini
Last year the reputed mob boss supposedly used a young girl, 5 years old, to ferry secret messages.

That information was revealed by a "mafia informant," according to the Daily Mail.

Attilio Fogazza, the informant now in hiding with his family, said Messina Denaro's second-in-command, Domenico (Mimmo) Scimonelli, approached his daughter about running "pizzini" for him.

Pizzini is the word used to refer to the small pieces of paper used by Sicilian Mafiosi to send high-level messages.

Scimonelli took the daughter for ice cream and slipped messages inside her jacket and backpack.

Fogazza is living with his daughter and the rest of his family at a secret location under police protection. He was known to have been cooperating with prosecutors and investigators working to catch Denaro.

Fogazza, in his 40s, ran a car dealership in south-western Sicily. He flipped when he was arrested in December 2015 for the 2009 murder of a man who made the mistake of stealing a van owned by Scimonelli.

Scimonelli himself also was arrested following a separate probe into alleged accomplices of Matteo Messina Denaro.

Fogazza and Nicolo Nicolosi both were detained on suspicion of murdering Lombardo on Scimonelli's orders.

Prosecutors in Palermo and in Trapani ordered the arrests after a lengthy investigation.

Rosario Scalia also was suspected of helping Fogazza and Nicolosi find Lombardi in order to kill him.

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