CASTELVETRANO, ITALY - 17 FEBRUARY 2020: A view of the Belicittà shopping center, confiscated from the entrepreneur Giuseppe Grigoli, accused of being a front man for the mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, is seen here in Castelvetrano, Italy, on February 17th 2020.
The entrepreneurial rise of Matteo Messina Denaro coincides with the beginning of his escape. In addition to the traditional sectors in which Cosa Nostra operates, such as the control of drug trafficking (thanks to Messina Denaro's contacts with the South American drug cartels), the boss began to expand his business into the large-scale distribution and alternative energy sectors. Money was thus laundered into supermarkets and shopping malls. Partner and front man of Matteo Messina Denaro was Giuseppe Grigoli, the so-called "king of supermarkets", owner of a giant retailer that managed the Despar supermarkets and the Belicittà shopping centre. Grigoli started his business with a small shop in 1974, and with the protection of the boss he managed to put together an empire of 750 million euros. Another great business is alternative energy, in particular wind power. Messina Denaro's closest men have managed to infiltrate the construction of the largest wind farms in western Sicily. Giuseppe Grigoli was arrested in 2007.
Described as “the last Mohican of the old mafia”, Matteo Messina Denaro (57) is one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, who has been in hiding since 1993. He was once considered a candidate to be the Sicilian mafia’s boss of bosses after the deaths of Bernardo Provenzano in 2016 and Salvatore Riina in 2017. He was born into the Denaro Family (a well-known Mafia family) in Castelvetrano in the province of Trapani, Sicily.
Matteo Messina Denaro, who infamously claimed: “I filled a cemetery all by myself”, has apparently kept up his luxurious lifestyle, thanks to his several bankrollers who, according to prosecutors, include politicians and businessmen. Investigators have lon