Arrested: ‘close friend’ of Mafia leader Messina Denaro

Niccolò Clemente

ROME - A ‘close associate’ of Messina Denaro has been arrested in Trapani on Friday, a businessman who had a ‘privileged relationship’ with the fugitive.

 Niccolò Clemente, 50, was arrested by the anti-mafia investigation agency ‘Dia di Trapani’ on Friday for associations with the mafia, whilst the societies Calcestruzzi Castelvetrani and Clemente Costruzioni have also been seized. The operation forms part of the ongoing investigation aiming to disrupt the web of mafia associates closest to the boss of ‘Cosa Nostra’, the Sicilian Mafia, that has been concealed for 25 years.

 This is Clemente: a construction businessman, one of the most active members of the Castelvetrano gang and also “a man close with the fugitive boss Matteo Messina Denaro”, according to investigators. His arrest, by the executive of Gip, forms part of the Dia investigation coordinated by the Dda of Palermo, which has unveiled the mafia associates of Cosa Nostra.

 The investigation on Clemente stems from declarations made by justice collaborator Lorenzo and Giuseppe Grigoli, who together decisively condemned those connected to mafia family Castelvetrano, defining the businessman as “capable of infiltrating and influencing the local economy in the sectors of public and private construction industry and in the business of mixed oil shale, to procure significant financial resources for the family.”

 “The investigation shows that Clemente had a strong, direct and privileged relationship with the boss Messina Denaro,” said la Dia, “and that he has systematically participated in the two businesses that were seized today, splitting up the commission in construction and concrete industries. These took place in the inner mafia-business circle, and, along with businessmen Giovanni Filardo and Giovanni Risalvato, Lorenzo Cimarosa and Rosario Firenze also took part.” The first three are definitely condemned for mafia associations, whilst the last is currently detained for the same crime.

 “Clemente,” observed Gip, “was fully involved in the castelvetranese mafia-business, meeting with the mafia family and using systematic violence and threats to force clients to bend to his will. The regretful Cimarosa confirmed in an interview recorded in prison in 2014 that Patrizia Messina Denaro, the sister of the fugitive arrested by Dia di Trapani in 2013, had received money from Clemente and from other businessmen and shared the commission regulated by the mafia family of Castelvetrano at that time.

 Clemente’s family, states La Dia di Trapani, has always formed the foundation of the mafia family Castelvetrano. The brother Giuseppe, one of Matteo Messina Denaro’s most faithful friends, was condemned for homicides committed in competition with with the fugitive of Cosa Nostra. A dangerous killer, Clemente controlled the business industry together with brother Nicolò. They had a ‘collaborative’ relationship of the utmost trust, writes Gip, with Vito Cappadonna condemned for having helped Messina Denaro during his hiding, helping with accommodation and giving arms to the brother Giuseppe Clemente.

 Having been condemned to a life sentence and suffering from depression, Giuseppe committed suicide in prison in 2008, right on the birthday of his friend Matteo Messina Denaro.