Italy's most wanted Mafia boss arrested

The Italian police have arrested the country's most wanted Mafioso. Matteo Messina Denaro is considered to be the boss of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and is allegedly responsible for the murders of judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, among others. He was arrested in a private clinic in Palermo. The press remains sceptical about the extent to which his arrest will truly undermine Mafia structures.

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La Repubblica (IT) /

A big grey zone remains

La Repubblica is worried by the fact that the mafia boss was apparently able to move around quite freely in Sicily:

“The good news does not go beyond that of the arrest. .... Denaro's car, registered in Trapani, which he used to shuttle between his 'district' and the hospital where he was battling the metastases of an intestinal tumour, as well as the testimonies, today and only today, that he was often spotted in the towns of the Belice Valley, show us how much the Cosa Nostra and its bosses owe to what [Sicilian author] Leonardo Sciascia described half a century ago in his book Equal Danger. A bourgeoisie that did not evade the Mafia. And a grey zone of acquiescence that serves economic, financial and political interests.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

Only a confession would really help

Writing in Corriere del Ticino, Ferruccio de Bortoli discusses whether Denaro's arrest marks the final decline of the Cosa Nostra:

“Messina Denaro is probably now a subordinate mafia boss, while the levers of power have passed into other, younger, more technological and international hands. ... Trying to understand the mafia phenomenon is a hard task: it is never what it seems. It's like endlessly plucking the leaves of an artichoke soaked in blood and spiked with thorns. Of course, it would be a different matter if Messina Denaro were to start talking.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Authorities not interested in the details

Criminals would only really come clean to a state that really wants to hear the whole truth, Mafia expert Roberto Saviano reminds readers in Corriere della Sera:

“When the bosses spoke out over the last ten years, they don't seem to have said everything they knew. ... It has been clear to them that a little goes a long way with the state. Politicians want to flaunt the scalp in the media, any minor victory is enough for them to proclaim the supposed defeat of the mafia. ... Even if Messina Denaro were to show remorse, he wouldn't tell everything he knows. You spill the beans to a state that really fights criminal organisations. And that doesn't apply for us.”