© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A screengrab taken from a video shows Matteo Messina Denaro the country’s most wanted mafia boss being escorted out of a Carabinieri police station after he was arrested in Palermo, Italy, January 16, 2023. Carabinieri/Handout via REUTERS
By Angelo Amante
ROME (Reuters) – Posters of Al Pacino as the Godfather and Joaquin Phoenix as Joker were found in an apartment in western Sicily where mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro is believed to have lived in the months prior to his arrest, police footage showed on Friday.
The apartment, in the town of Campobello di Mazara, is in a modest building just a few kilometres away from the boss’s home town of Castelvetrano. Magistrates said he was living a “regular” life there, including going to the supermarket, despite being Italy’s most wanted man.
Messina Denaro was arrested in the Sicilian capital of Palermo on Jan. 16 after 30 years on the run as he was going to a private hospital where he had scheduled cancer treatment.
Along with the Godfather and Joker posters, the boss had a picture of a lion on the walls of his living room, while a calendar featuring a scantily-clad woman was found hanging in a small room he used as a personal gym, footage showed.
In the house, police also found a loaded Smith&Wesson 38 caliber special revolver, and a package with a further 20 rounds of the same bullets, a separate statement said.
Nicknamed “U Siccu” (The Skinny One), Messina Denaro was sentenced in absentia to multiple life terms for an array of crimes, including for his role in the 1992 murders of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
Known for his taste for luxury, the boss had perfumes and designer clothes in his house, police said immediately after his arrest, but the video showed they also found everyday items such as an ironing board and a drying rack.
Messina Denaro is being held in a high-security jail close to the central Italian city of l’Aquila, where he will be subject to the tough “41bis” rules aimed at preventing mobsters from running criminal activities from behind bars.