The former leader of Cosa Nostra, Matteo Messina Denaro, died a while ago in the prisons of the city of L’Aquila. Sixty-two years old, he was arrested last January in Palermo, Sicily, after 30 years on the run and suffering from colon cancer in an advanced stage.

Despite pleas from prosecutors to cooperate with justice, he had repeatedly refused to reveal his secrets. Under his “leadership”, the Italian mafia secured enormous financial power. He did not hesitate to order the killing of young children, to “punish” repentant mobsters who had decided to support the cause of justice.

For at least three decades, Messina Denaro – initially together with Bernardo Provenzano – had absolute control over the Cosa Nostra drug trade, in collaboration with Latin American “mafias”, but also with the Drangheta, the Calabrian mafia.

Among other things, he ordered the murders of two judges – symbols of the fight against the mafia – Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borcellino, who died in Sicily in 1992.