Anti-mafia police hold 11 Messina Denaro 'henchmen'

Anti-mafia police hold 11 Messina Denaro 'henchmen'

Police arrested 11 alleged close collaborators of fugitive Sicilian mafia 'boss of bosses' Matteo Messina Denaro on Tuesday and seized three mafia-controlled companies in a major operation against his clan.

Among the suspects was Epifanio Agate, son of a deceased local mafia boss from the Trapani area, Mariano Agate. He managed two companies in the fishing sector, according to investigators.

A freelance journalist for local daily Il Giornale della Sicilia, Filippo Siragusa, was banned from leaving his place of residence as part of Tuesday's operation, He is accused of fraudulently registering assets.

Via the three impounded companies, the Sicilian mafia infiltrated the construction of a wind farm in the town of Mazara del Vallo and the renovation of its hospital, investigators said.

The probe revealed strong links between Sicilian mafia clans in Mazara del Vallo and in Castelvetrano, who shared the spoils from tenders in the Trapani area according to Messina Denaro's orders, said investigators.

Messina Denaro, 53, has been on the run since 1993. He is among the 10 most wanted criminals in the world, according to Interpol.