Italian mob boss renews wedding vows in same church as anti-mafia ‘hero’ memorial – The Telegraph

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A notorious Sicilian mob boss was allowed to celebrate his silver wedding anniversary in the church where a top mafia investigator was buried after his murder in a car bombing.

Catholic clerics in Palermo were left red-faced by the revelation and claimed they had no clue about the identity of Tommaso Lo Presti, a convicted mafioso nicknamed “the glutton” who was recently released from jail after 12 years behind bars for a range of mafia-related offences, including extortion, drug dealing and illegal betting.

Lo Presti and his wife Teresa Marino, who were described by one Italian newspaper as “Cosa Nostra’s most famous couple”, renewed their vows at a lavish ceremony in the Church of San Domenico in the historic heart of Palermo on April 15. He wore a dark suit while Marino was in a flowing white lace dress.

The church is the second most important basilica in the city after the Palermo cathedral.

Teresa Marino was convicted for running her husband’s criminal activities while he was in jail.

Credit: ANSA

It is also the final resting place of Giovanni Falcone, a crusading anti-mafia prosecutor who was assassinated by the Cosa Nostra in 1992.

In one of Italy’s most infamous murder cases, a powerful bomb was detonated under Mr Falcone’s car as he travelled on a road near Palermo. His wife and three of his bodyguards were also killed in the attack. Two months later, his colleague Paolo Borsellino, another celebrated investigator, was also murdered.

Friends and relatives of the mafia couple watched them renew their vows just a few feet from a memorial to Mr Falcone, lauding him as a “hero in the fight against the mafia”.

Father Sergio Catalano, the rector of the church, said that he had no idea who the couple were when he conducted Mass for them.

“How could I have known?” he told the Italian media. “It’s not as if I can ask for an anti-mafia certificate from people who come to the church. It’s not us who should be responsible for carrying out checks – they should be carried out by institutions of the State.”

He said he only found out their identities after the event from news reports.

The couple had left a generous donation “and the money will be used to help people who are in need,” the priest said.

After the renewal of their vows, the couple threw a party for friends and relatives but it ended early– Lo Presti is under curfew restrictions and has to spend each night at home.

Marino, the mother of five who became a grandmother at 38, was convicted of running her husband’s criminal activities while he was behind bars.

In 2014, after Lo Presti’s arrest, a judge explained the role played by his wife, saying that while he was in jail, she “received at her home all the prominent members of the mafia district of Porta Nuova [an area of Palermo] and gave them instructions and directions on behalf of her husband, sharing with them criminal strategies. Mafiosi came to her to resolve internal issues and tensions with the organisation”.

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