By Wladimir Pantaleone
PALERMO, Italy -Perfumes, designer clothes and sex pills were found on Tuesday in an apartment which investigators believe was the last hideout of Sicilian mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, judicial sources said, a day after the arrest of the fugitive.
Messina Denaro, 60, caught on Monday at a private hospital in Palermo after 30 years on the run, is being held in the central Italian city of L’Aquila, the Palermo prosecutor said. He was transferred from Sicily on the day of his arrest.
The apartment is in an a modest building near the centre of Campobello di Mazara, a town in the Western Sicilian province of Trapani, just a few kilometres from Messina Denaro’s home town of Castelvetrano.
Investigators found clothes, shoes, a well-stocked fridge and restaurant receipts there, judicial sources said. They also found potency pills.
“He had a regular life, he went to the supermarket,” said magistrate Paolo Guido, one the officials investigating Messina Denaro.
Neighbours described him as a friendly person.
“I live on the first floor of the building, sometimes I have seen this person, greeted him and nothing else. He responded in a cordial manner,” Rosario Cognata told Italian media.
Messina Denaro was known for his taste for luxury goods, including designer clothes and expensive sunglasses. Police said he was wearing a watch worth 35,000 euros ($38,000) when he was arrested.
Messina Denaro is believed to have lived in the apartment for the past year, judicial sources said, but police are still searching for other places where he might have spent time.
Investigators believe Messina Denaro was driven on Monday to Palermo’s La Maddalena hospital from Campobello di Mazara to be treated for cancer. The town was home to his alleged aide Giovanni Luppino, who was arrested with him.
Police placed under investigation medical doctor Alfonso Tumbarello on suspicion of aiding and abetting the mafia boss, judicial sources said, because he attended to Messina Denaro, who was undergoing anti-cancer treatment under a false name.
The sources said he gave the name of Andrea Bonafede, who was the owner of the apartment Messina Denaro was living in, and who is also under investigation.
Nicknamed “‘U Siccu” (The Skinny One), Messina Denaro picked up 20 life prison terms in trials held in absentia for his role in an array of mob murders, including the bomb attacks that killed anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992.
Despite his illness, prosecutors said Messina Denaro was fit enough to serve time in prison where he will carry on with his cancer treatment. ($1 = 0.9232 euros)