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Sicilian Mafia Bosses Gather Facebook Friends

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Salvatore 'Toto' Riina, imprisoned former Sicilian Mafia boss, in a 1993 mug shot.AP

To the fury and dismay of relatives of Mafia victims, pages posted on the social-networking Web site Facebook idolizing notorious Cosa Nostra Godfathers have generated thousands of supporters in Italy.

The fan sites offer tributes not only to Salvatore (Toto) Riina, jailed in 1993, and Bernardo Provenzano, his successor, arrested two years ago, both from Corleone in Sicily, but also to Matteo Messina Denaro, the Mafia boss from Trapani in Sicily who is said to be the current capo dei capi (boss of bosses).

Maria Falcone, the sister of Giovanni Falcone, the respected anti-Mafia judge murdered in 1992, said she was outraged.

"Unfortunately, evil still fascinates our young people," she said.

Messina Denaro, 46, has a reputation as a Mafia playboy with a love of computer gadgetry, designer sunglasses, glamorous women and fast cars. He has been on the run since 1993 after murdering a rival Trapani boss and strangling his girlfriend, who was three months pregnant.

Some of the Facebook sites are in the names of people purporting to be the Cosa Nostra bosses.

Facebook users accepted as "friends" by people posing as Messina Denaro post messages telling them they are "honored by his friendship."

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