The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
View E-Paper

Updated: Malta police arrest son-in-law of Cosa Nostra boss Totò Riina

Thursday, 8 February 2024, 11:32 Last update: about 23 days ago


A 50-year-old Italian citizen arrested by Maltese police on the strength of a European Arrest Warrant, has been identified as Antonino Ciavarello, son-in-law of the infamous late Sicilian "boss-of-bosses" Totò Riina.

Ciavarello was wanted by prosecutors in Brindisi, in Puglia, southern Italy.

The arrest took place early Thursday morning following weeks of investigations, revealing that the individual was residing in Mosta. Police from various units surrounded the residence and carried out the arrest.

Italian authorities had issued the arrest warrant against the Italian national on January 24, 2022, to enforce a prison sentence. The operation was conducted in collaboration with the Italian police.

In 2017, Ciavarello was arrested in Puglia to serve six months under house arrest for fraud. Ciavarello, who then lived at San Pancrazio with his wife, was found guilty of a scam perpetrated at Termini Imerese in 2009.

Ciavarello will now be extradited to Sicily to serve jail time. He was arraigned under arrest the day after his 50th birthday, before magistrate Giannella Camilleri Busuttil.

"Boss of bosses" Totò Riina

In court this afternoon, Inspector Roderick Spiteri confirmed on oath that he was arraigning Ciavarello under arrest on the strength of two European Arrest Warrants issued by the Italian authorities. He exhibited copies of the original arrest warrant and the related Schengen Information System alert.

Inspector Spiteri explained that the two EAWs had been issued in Ciavarello’s name, issued in connection with two separate court sentences.

Ciavarello, who appeared in court wearing clothes covered in construction dust, was unable to stand up in the dock. Magistrate Giannella Camilleri Busuttil allowed the man to remain seated.

Speaking quietly, almost whispering, the man gave an address in Mosta as his place of residence. He told the court he was employed as a driver with a construction company based in San Gwann.

The two warrants order him to be jailed for two years and pay a €100,000 fine, and another eight months prison sentence.

Speaking through an interpreter, Ciavarello confirmed to the court that he was the person identified in both warrants. Lawyer Thomas Barbara Sant, assisting Ciavarello told the court that his client had been aware of the judgments but had not known he had been sentenced to imprisonment.

The court asked Ciavarello whether he consented to being returned to Italy. He declared that he did. The court ordered that he be remanded in custody until his handover to the Italian authorities.

Ciavarallo is married to the daughter of Toto Riina, the Corleone-born boss who launched a bloody all-out war on the Italian State in the early 1990s, died in 2017 aged 87. Riina was still considered head of Cosa Nostra despite spending 24 years under the 41 bis tough jail regime. Nicknamed ‘The Beast’ for his ferocity, he was serving life for a slew of crimes including the assassinations of anti-Mafia magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino 25 years ago.

Riina was also involved in the infamous assassinations of Carabinieri General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, shortly after his appointment as prefect of Palermo, in 1982; and of Sicilian Governor Piersanti Mattarella, the brother of Italian President Sergio Mattarella, in 1980.


  • don't miss