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CRIME

Italy demands €2 million in ‘expenses’ from the family of mafia boss Totò Riina

The Italian state has presented the family of late mafia ‘boss of bosses’ Salvatore 'Totò' Riina with a bill for expenses incurred during his 24-year imprisonment.

Italy demands €2 million in ‘expenses’ from the family of mafia boss Totò Riina
Corleone, Sicily, is the historic stronghold of the Cosa Nostra mafia clan. Photo: AFP

Riina’s family lawyer Luca Cianferoni said the two million euro bill presented by local tax authorities in Sicily seemed to be a “mistake.”

“The law expressly excludes that the reimbursement for costs in prison extends to the heirs of the condemned. So we're studying the matter closely,” he told Italian media.

Riina’s family already seem to be in financial difficulty after having much of their property confiscated.

His son-in-law pleaded poverty and begged for money online, and other family members have been trying to sell products including coffee and olive oil using Riina’s name.

READ ALSO: Italy's 'Ndrangheta mafia 'on all continents' and still growing

Former Sicilian mafia godfather Riina died of cancer in prison in November 2017.

Arrested on January 15, 1993 after evading police for 23 years, Riina was considered the undisputed leader of the Cosa Nostra.

He had been serving 26 life sentences after being convicted of ordering more than 150 murders.

An early police shot of Salvatore 'Toto' Riina. Photo: public domain via Adri08/Wikimedia Commons.

Nicknamed “The Beast” because of his cruelty, Riina led a reign of terror for decades after taking control of Sicily's powerful organised crime families in the 1970s.

The most high-profile murders he ordered were those of anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992. The two judges were famous for their groundbreaking work in bringing more than 300 mobsters to trial in 1987.

In 2009 he broke the mafia code of omerta – a vow of silence – and surprised those who thought he would take his secrets to the grave by admitting his link to the mob.

Riina was buried in his hometown of Corleone, near Palermo.

Last month the Sicilian mafia attempted to reorganise and appoint a new ‘boss of bosses’. But anti-mafia police interrupted the initiation of Riina’s replacement, Settimino Mineo, arresting him along with 45 other suspected Mafiosi.

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ROME

‘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.

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