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Italy's most wanted criminal

Maurizio de Lucia, a prosecutor, announced on Monday that Matteo Messina Denaro, a high-ranking member of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra Mafia and Italy's most wanted criminal, has been apprehended by police while receiving medical treatment at a private clinic in Palermo.
Maurizio de Lucia, a prosecutor, informed CNN that Matteo Messina Denaro, a high-ranking member of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra Mafia and one of Europe's most wanted criminals according to Europol, has been captured after being on the run since 1993.
Lamberto Giannini, the chief of police in Italy, issued a statement praising the efforts of the Carabinieri (Italian military police) and the Palermo Public Prosecutor's Office for their successful capture of the dangerous fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro. He stated that it is a victory for all the police forces that have worked together over the years to bring him to justice.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Defense Minister Guido Crosetto both commented on the arrest of Matteo Messina Denaro, calling it a victory for the state against the Mafia. Meloni tweeted that it is a "great victory for the state, which demonstrates that it does not give up in the face of the Mafia," and Crosetto called it "a sign of a state that wins against Mafia." Meloni also spoke outside the prosecutor's office and said that while the war against the Mafia is not yet won, this arrest is a "battle that was fundamental to win."

Life spent in crime

Matteo Messina Denaro, is believed to have orchestrated numerous Mafia-related killings and has been convicted of several life sentences in absentia for his crimes. He was particularly notorious for his involvement in the murders of anti-Mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992. In 2020 he received another life sentence for bombings in Milan, Florence, and Rome in the late 1990s, as well as the murder and torture of an 11-year-old boy, the son of an enemy who testified against the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. He has been on the run for almost 30 years, and is considered the longest-hiding fugitive in the Cosa Nostra.
Matteo Messina Denaro was arrested on Monday morning by over 100 specialized agents from the anti-Mafia Carabinieri during a raid that took place at around 10 a.m. local time. The Maddalena clinic where he was arrested is a private health facility known for plastic surgery and elective procedures, but it is not known what treatment he was receiving. He is now being held in a secret location, as per the Carabinieri press office. In recent years, anti-Mafia security forces have been closing in on Messina Denaro's inner circle, seizing around €3 billion ($3.25 billion) in assets belonging to his associates, relatives, and companions believed to be supporting him while in hiding, and making several arrests between 2009 and 2010.
Matteo Messina Denaro, also known as "Diabolik," is considered as one of the successors of Bernardo Provenzano, who was apprehended while in hiding in a farmhouse outside Corleone, Sicily in April 2006. He comes from a Mafia family, his father being a known Mafia boss in Sicily. He was born on April 26, 1962. His brother Salvatore Messina Denaro was among those arrested in the 2009-2010 crackdown and refused to testify about his brother's whereabouts. In 2013, his sister Patrizia Messina Denaro was sentenced to 14 years in prison for being a member of the Mafia, she is still serving her term.

Remained Hidden from Law

While in hiding, Matteo Messina Denaro had several romantic relationships. One of them was with his fiancée Franca Alagna, with whom he had a daughter named Lorenza. He also had a high-profile relationship with an Austrian hotel worker, who publicly claimed that they went on a vacation to Greece despite him being on Europol's most-wanted list.
There have been numerous failed attempts to arrest Matteo Messina Denaro over the years. In May 2011, police believed they were closing in on him at a farmhouse near his hometown of Castelvetrano but failed to capture him despite the involvement of hundreds of officers. His DNA was later found at the site. This failure was further compounded by the arrest of a British man at a restaurant in The Hague in 2021, after the anti-Mafia police misidentified him as Messina Denaro. In September of the same year, a suspected sighting of him in a car led to a manhunt and hundreds of tips, as per the prosecutor's statement.