Police seize luxury villas and cars from ex-mafia boss ‘Angel Face’

Italian police announced on Tuesday they have seized goods and properties belonging to former mafia boss Felice Maniero, nicknamed 'Angel Face', who appears to be cooperating with the authorities after serving a lengthy prison term.

Police seize luxury villas and cars from ex-mafia boss 'Angel Face'
File photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Tuesday's operation saw two arrested for 'aggravated money laundering' and unveiled some of the valuable assets accrued from Maniero's mafia activities, including villas, luxury cars and bank accounts.

Among the treasures were a racehorse, eight Mercedes cars, a Bentley, two Porsches, two BMWs and three luxury villas.

The 62-year-old Maniero led the powerful Venetian Mala del Brenta mafia group – notorious for drug dealing, robberies, weapons trafficking and kidnappings – until the mid-1990s.

He was twice detained and twice escaped before entering into a fraught collaboration with Italian justice authorities which led to the dismantling of his organized crime network.

In 1997 Maniero was jailed for 19 years for nine murders committed between 1982 and 1994. He was released from prison in 2010 and given a new identity.

Italian media tracked Maniero down in 2015, managing a water purification company.

However, he repeatedly refused to reveal the location of his 'treasures', acquired from his time leading the clan – before finally agreeing to collaborate in March last year.

At the start of last year the authorities reopened their inquiries in a bid to recover some of the valuable assets accrued from his mafia activities, estimated to be worth some €17 million. 

Those inquiries turned up investments in prestigious real estate managed by Maniero family members.



‘Bank robber’ rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

Four people were arrested in Rome after a suspected would-be bank robber was rescued from a tunnel under a road, police said on Friday.

'Bank robber' rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

An Italian man had to be rescued after becoming trapped in a collapsed tunnel near the Vatican, suspected of being part of a gang burrowing its way to a nearby bank.

Firefighters spent eight hours digging him out from under a road in the west of Rome, before he was finally freed on Thursday evening and taken to hospital.

“Two people from Naples were arrested for resisting a public official and two, from Rome, for damage” to public property, a police spokesman told AFP.

The rescued man, one of the two Romans, remains in hospital, he said without giving an update on his condition.

“We are still investigating, we do not exclude that they are thieves, it is one of the theories,” he said.

For Italian newspapers, however, the motive was clear, with reports noting the tunnel was found near a bank ahead of the August 15th long weekend, when residents traditionally head out of town and much of Rome is left empty.

“The hole gang,” headlined newspapers Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, while La Stampa said: “They dig a tunnel to rob a bank, and one of them is buried underground.”

Other reports referred to the suspected burglar as l’uomo-talpa, or ‘mole man’.

An AFP reporter at the scene on Thursday saw the man brought out alive on a stretcher, after a day-long operation involving dozens of emergency service workers using mechanical diggers.

The tunnel began underneath an empty shop that had recently been rented.

“We all thought that the people there were renovating the place. So we had no suspicions and we did not hear noises either,” a resident, Michele, who lives in the same building told AFP.