The secret lives of the Mafia hunters

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The ‘Band of Lions’ during the arrest of a Mafia boss.

The Mafia still holds a romantic aura, partly because of Hollywood movies, partly because of our fascination with the criminal underworld.

Street plaques at every corner of Palermo (with endless lists of Palermitans, journalists, lawyers, Police officers, judges brutally murdered by mobsters) are shadowed by street vendors who sell Godfather T-shirts or gun-shaped cigarette lighters.

My interview with IMD, one of the ‘invisible’ officers of the Catturandi –the elite squad that rounds up members of the mob – came out on BBC Magazine the other day. It’s meant to shed a light on the daily fight against organised crime and the extraordinary lives of these ‘cops’ who can’t tell what they do for living to their loved ones to protect them from death threats and retaliation.

The Mafia might kill less than a decade ago but its presence looms over Italian politics, business and finance and, as IMD tells me, it’s harder than ever to separate the good guys from the bad guys.

As the piece came out, Public Radio International interviewed me to better understand what the Catturandi does and how Italy is managing the battle against Mafiosi while mob leader Matteo Messina Denaro is still on the loose.

You have to read this piece – it’s an offer you can’t refuse.

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