Palermo, September 25 – Italian police on Thursday seized assets worth several thousands of euros belonging to the jailed sister of Cosa Nostra No.1 Matteo Messina Denaro. Several firms including an olive-oil company belonging to Messina Denaro’s sister Anna Patrizia and her husband were impounded and a number of bank accounts frozen. The boss’s sister was among 30 people arrested in December but police think she still has contact with her brother and relays his orders. After the December sweep police said they have “never been so close” to capturing the elusive boss. Italy’s anti-mafia authorities in March updated the identikit of Messina Denaro after receiving new information about his appearance from an informant. It marked the first time since 2011 that investigators were able to update the computer-simulated portrait of the appearance of the crime boss, who is one of the world’s 10 most-wanted men according to Interpol. The 52-year-old crime boss has gained weight and his receding hairline has advanced, although his hair remains dark, an informant reported after a personal meeting with the mafia boss. Investigators discovered, thanks to the latest witness as well as other informants, that Messina Denaro no longer wears glasses. Old photos of the crime boss show him with thick spectacles due to a serious retina illness for which he sought treatment in Spain. A specialist who treated him in Barcellona confirmed the gravity of the condition and hypothesized that Messina Denaro has gone blind in one eye. Investigators have been closing the net around Messina with a wave of arrests and massive asset seizures since an updated identikit in 2011 gave new impetus to the search. The December operation came after police last April confiscated assets worth over 1.3 billion euros belonging to Vito Nicastri, a Sicilian wind-farm and solar-power magnate linked to Messina Denaro, in the biggest-ever assets seizure in the country’s history.
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