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The Netherlands. Former Sicilian Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro was to be detained in The Hague

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In The Hague, a man was arrested who, according to the prosecution, is the boss of the Sicilian mafia. Matteo Messina Denaro, known as “Diabolik”, was among other things involved in the high-profile murder of investigating judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in Sicily in the early 1990s. The detainee’s lawyer insists that it was not him and that there was a mistake.

On Wednesday evening, several police cars stopped in front of a restaurant in The Hague. Armed officers stormed inside and led the three men out.


The prosecution confirmed to the Dutch NOS portal that one of them was 59-year-old Matteo Messina Denaro. Also known as “Diabolik” is the undisputed capo di tutti capi of the Sicilian Mafia. The man Italians had been looking for since 1993.

This is what Matteo Messina Denaro was supposed to have seen in 2011 (description of the Italian police)EPA / POLICE

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Wanted for ordering murders

The man was wanted by the Italian justice system for ordering murders not only in Sicily, but also in Rome, Florence and Milan. He is also blamed for a series of bombings in 1993 in which the mafia tried to put pressure on the state.

As a result of the terror campaign, 10 people were killed and 93 were injured. As the Dutch daily Het Parool recalls, it was also allegedly involved in the high-profile murder of investigating judges Falcone and Borsellino in Sicily in the early 1990s.

In 2002, Denaro was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment.

Detainee’s lawyer: this is a mistake

Meanwhile, the lawyer of the detainee in The Hague, Leon van Kleef, told the newspaper that the prosecution had made a mistake and that his client was not at all a former mafia boss. “I informed the prosecutor’s office about it, but to no avail” – quotes the lawyer “Het Parool”.

The prosecution said there was no mistake, and the arrest was based on the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by Italy.

Main photo source: EPA / POLICE

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