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Home English Mafia 'beast' acquitted of Mattei journalist murder

Mafia 'beast' acquitted of Mattei journalist murder


Palermo, January 27 - A Palermo appeals court on
Monday acquitted the bloodiest-ever jailed Cosa Nostra boss for
the murder of an investigative journalist believed to have been
killed because he knew too much about the Mob assassination of
maverick oil chief Enrico Mattei.
Salvatore 'the Beast' Riina was first acquitted in June
2011 after a five-year trial.
Former prosecutor Antonio Ingroia, who had requested a
further life term for the onetime 'boss of bosses', appealed
against the acquittal, and the second-level trial began last
Prosecutors who have taken over from Ingroia, who has since
become a lawyer after an abortive foray into leftwing politics,
are now expected to appeal to the court of last instance, the
supreme Court of Cassation.
Riina was captured in 1993 and is already serving several
life sentences for crimes including the 1992 assassinations of
anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
According to Ingroia, Riina and two other 'cupola' members
decided to eliminate the "courageous and troublesome" journo
Mauro De Mauro in September 1970 because he was about to go
public about Mattei's murder eight years earlier, in a 1962
plane crash in northern Italy.
There was also a second reason to get rid of De Mauro,
Ingroia argued.
Thanks to wartime Fascist connections, Ingroia said, the
journalist had uncovered plans to stage a Mafia-backed far-right
coup d'etat in December that year.
"The death sentence on De Mauro was passed because of a
convergence of two elements," Ingroia said.
De Mauro went missing from the street outside his Palermo
home on September 16, 1970, while doing research for Francesco
Rosi's landmark movie, 'Il Caso Mattei' (The Mattei Case).
Italy's best-known Mafia informant, the late Tommaso
Buscetta, claimed the headline-grabbing boss of State fuels
group ENI was killed to stop him treading on the toes of the
so-called Seven Sisters of world oil.
Mattei is known to have angered the world's biggest oil
companies by forging deals in North Africa, Russia and Iran
that aimed to make Italy independent of them.
An investigation into the plane crash concluded it had
been caused by a technical fault but another probe, 30 years
later, said a bomb had exploded on board.
"De Mauro was very busy piecing together the elements of
the plot, and his death stopped it being uncovered" Ingroia told
the court.
"The other 'convergent' element in his death was the fact
that he knew, from its inception, about the subversive project
involving spies, neofascists and Mafia groups" to put together
the so-called 'Borghese Coup', the prosecutor went on.
"From his sources in neofascist circles, from his past in
Prince Junio Valerio Borghese's crack 'X Mas' WWII unit, as well
as from tip-offs from Mafia boss Emanuele D'Agostino, he knew
something was in the offing".
According to Mafia turncoats, the coup was aborted at the
last minute after key establishment figures withdrew their
De Mauro went missing after telling friends he had "news
that (would) shake the world".
This is believed to have been the scoops on Mattei's death
and the Borghese coup plans.
Ingroia has said investigations had unearthed an
"institutional cover-up" in the initial probe into De Mauro's
A probe into these alleged cover-ups is stull under way.
Riina's successor until his arrest in 2006, Bernardo
Provenzano, is under investigation in a separate probe into
the murder.
De Mauro's body was never found.
Various informants have told police about alleged burial
sites but bodies recovered from them have not matched the
journalist's DNA.

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