Salvatore “Toto” Riina

The mafia “boss of bosses”

Mafia boss Salvatore “Toto” Riina, who is also known as “The Beast”, is still recognised by many as the head of Cosa Nostra even though he was arrested in 1993.

In Italy’s so-called Maxi Trial in 1986-87, Cosa Nostra "boss of bosses" Riina was tried in absentia and sentenced to life in prison. After the trial’s convictions were upheld, Riina allegedly sought revenge and initiated a series of bombings and murders across the country during the so-called season of terror from 1991 to 1994.

In January, 1993, Riina was arrested in Palermo near a villa where he’d been living for years. While in prison, his terror campaign continued across Italy.

Still in jail today, Riina is accused in Antonino Di Matteo’s trial of violent blackmail against the state. In an attempt to halt the trial, he called for Di Matteo's assassination. He was caught on a prison CCTV camera telling a fellow prisoner: "So if we can, kill him. It'll be an execution like we used to have in Palermo."

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