The Malta Independent 4 October 2022, Tuesday
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Cross-dressing Mafia kingpin arrested while coming to Malta loses appeal

Monday, 14 December 2015, 07:51 Last update: about 8 years ago

An Italian appeals court has confirmed a four year jail sentence for a fugitive mafia boss whose reputation for cross-dressing and writing eloquent notes to his son earned him the nickname 'the poet boss'.

Aldo Gionta, the fugitive boss of a Naples Camorra mafia clan, had been cornered by plain clothes at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo as he tried to board a ferry for Malta using false papers.

The 42-year-old son of revered boss Valentino Gionta – who founded a drugs and extortion empire in the 1980s and allied with Sicily's Cosa Nostra – Aldo was believed to have risen to prominence acting as a family kingpin near Naples while his father served hard time.

While on the run, Mr Gionta reportedly wore wigs and dressed in women's clothing to avoid capture, prompting one investigator to claim "Camorra mobsters aren't what they used to be," Italian daily La Stampa reported.

Despite a flamboyant sartorial reputation, at the moment of his arrest Mr Gionta had opted for a more sober T-shirt and a large pair of glasses.

Earlier in his career the crime chief earned a reputation as a 'poet' thanks to secret notes he wrote to his son during a stint in jail in 2008 – even if the content of his missives was hardly the stuff of classic verse.

"Learn to shoot with a machine gun, shotgun and Kalashnikov," read one note, later seized by investigators.

His lyrical reputation was cemented when a Naples singer, Tony Marciano, who was reportedly linked to the Gionta clan, used some of Mr Gionta's messages in his lyrics.

Marciano was a staple of the so-called Naples Neomelodic scene, a style of music involving crooners who sing passionate love songs in the Neopolitan dialect.

He recorded the song 'Nun ciamm arrennere', or 'We Must Not Surrender', in which he criticises mafia turncoats who betray their fellow mobsters to the police and who "have lost their omerta", or code of silence.

Along with Gionta, three of his accomplices were also condemned by the Court of Appeal.

The boss had been on the run as from 5 June 2014, when he slipped away from a police raid on the area where the Gionta clan is paramount, Quartiere Carcere of Torre Annunziata, near Naples.

When he was arrested in Pozzallo as he was about to embark on the catamaran, Aldo told the police he was not the man they were looking for but was called Pasquale Castello.


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