ROME – Police in Sicily have confiscated four olive companies, farmland, villas and other property that anti-Mafia prosecutors contend belong to the business empire of Italy's top Mafia boss, who has been on the run for more than 20 years.
The property, confiscated Saturday in the western part of the island considered to be Matteo Messina Denaro's power base, was estimated to be worth 13 million euros ($14 million). The convicted Cosa Nostra mobster is Italy's most-wanted fugitive. Prosecutors alleged the olive businesses and 108 other properties, plus vehicles and bank accounts, were listed in the name of accomplices to hide their actual ownership by the fugitive.
The farm lobby Coldiretti estimates Italy's various mafias earn billions annually in agriculture, including by using threats to force stores to sell mobster-produced mozzarella or other products.