“Socalj” for Borderland Beat

Matteo Messina Denaro’s hand-typed instructions were found hidden in the sofa at the home of his sister Rosalia.

The sister of Italy’s recently jailed top mobster, described as “the last godfather of the Sicilian Mafia”, has been arrested after police searching her house found ‘Pizzini,’ slips of paper that the boss used to deliver his hand-typed instructions. 

According to investigators, Rosalia Messina Denaro, the sister of Matteo Messina Denaro – who was Italy’s most wanted man until his arrest on 16 January, had helped her brother evade capture for 30 years and acted on his behalf as the “cashier” of the “family”, while also running the transmission network of the Pizzini, thus enabling the mafia boss to maintain relations with his organization during his long period as a fugitive.

“Rosalia Messina Denaro was a person of absolute trust of the boss,” said Alfredo Montalto, the judge who ordered her arrest. “She managed the network of Pizzini through which Denaro delivered his orders to the other associates.”

Some of the Pizzini found by the Carabinieri in the house in Castelvetrano, the Mafia boss’ hometown on the southwest coast of Sicily, also contained the leader’s outlook on life and his personal beliefs. Denaro, who boasted of being a Sicilian mafia boss, saw himself as a scapegoat, a man persecuted by justice and by the state.

“Being indicted for being a member of the mafia, at this point, I consider it an honor,” Matteo Denaro wrote in his own hand in one of the Pizzini found by the police in his sister’s house. “We have been persecuted like we were scoundrels, treated as if we were not part of the human race, we have become an ethnic group to erase.”

“They buried our land with this lie. We, the evil, they … the good,” Denaro wrote. “Every time there is a new arrest, more and more people suffer for this land. Every time they arrest someone, more and more people join our community that is not willing to accept this injustice. This is what we are, and one day, I am convinced, all of this will be recognized and history will give us back what it took from us in life.”

The Pizzini, which were hidden in the cavity of a chair in the house of Denaro’s sister, were addressed to various people including alleged members of the Mafia, some of whom had nicknames, such as Condor, Cherry, Parmesan, and Apple.

In 2013, another of Matteo’s sisters, Patrizia, was arrested for helping her brother run the Mafia organization and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Rosalia Denaro was also hiding a Pizzino containing a detailed note on her brother’s health condition. Matteo Denaro was apprehended at a private clinic in Palermo, where he had been periodically receiving treatment for a tumor under the false name of Andrea Bonafede.

Matteo Messina Denaro spent 30 years on the run in Italy.
According to Mafia informers and prosecutors, Denaro, nicknamed “Diabolik” – the name of a fictional thief – and U Siccu – “The Skinny One” – holds the key to some of the most heinous crimes perpetrated by the Sicilian mafia, including bomb attacks in 1992 that killed the anti-mafia magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, and the killing in 1996 of Giuseppe Di Matteo, the 12-year-old son of a mobster turned state witness, who was strangled and dissolved in acid.

Denaro is detained in a maximum-security prison in the central Italian city of L’Aquila, where he was given an initial session of chemotherapy.

To date, the carabinieri has found at least three apartments used by the mobster, including one that used a wardrobe full of clothes to conceal a secret bunker. Inside the hideouts, prosecutors found luxury clothes, emeralds, diamonds, a poster of Francis Ford Coppola’s film The Godfather, and some books, including biographies of Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler.