Maria Concetta Riina (pictured) sparked outrage after opening an online shop selling ‘Uncle Totò’ products
The daughter of mafia boss Salvatore ‘Totò’ Riina has started selling an espresso range named after the man responsible for 150 murders.
Maria Concetta Riina sparked outrage after opening an online shop selling ‘Uncle Totò’ products celebrating the notorious Italian mobster, who died last month.
Writing in the ‘about’ section of the website, Riina and her husband Antonio Ciavarello, who is currently under house arrest for fraud in San Pancrazio, Puglia, said: ‘There are two of us.
‘We want to sell some Zu Totò brand products. We’re starting with coffee capsules, we’re doing this pre-sale so we can collect orders and cash to get us going, seeing as they seized everything from us without reason.
‘Thanks in advance for your faith, we’re expecting large orders from you. Then, in the time it takes to set up a firm, we will send you what you ordered.’
The business move was widely condemned across Italy, with the mayor of San Pancrazio telling La Repubblica: ‘This is an unacceptable provocation that this community will not put up with.’
The daughter of mafia boss Salvatore ‘Totò’ Riina has started selling an espresso range named after the man responsible for 150 murders. Pictured: The proposed coffee range
The controversial site was later closed down by authorities on Tuesday.
Writing on her Facebook page soon afterwards, Riina was defiant.
‘The lion is wounded, but not dead,’ she wrote. ‘Soon it will rise again and will continue to fight… as it always has done, always!’
Salvatore ‘Toto’ Riina, one of the most feared godfathers in the history of the Sicilian Mafia, had been serving 26 life sentences when he succumbed to cancer aged 87 on November 17.
Salvatore ‘Toto’ Riina, one of the most feared godfathers in the history of the Sicilian Mafia, had been serving 26 life sentences when he succumbed to cancer aged 87 on November 17
The most high-profile murders the mobster ordered were those in 1992 of anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who had worked fearlessly to bring more than 300 mobsters to trial in 1987.
One of his life sentences was for ordering the hit, known as the ‘Lazio Street Massacre’, in which five people were gunned down in Palermo shootout.
Riina also planned a hit on Rudolph Giuliani, when the former mayor of New York was a state prosecutor in the 1980s.
Giuliani, a second generation Italian immigrant, went on to become the city’s mayor and a national hero for his work combating organised crime.
Riina, who was also dubbed ‘U Curtu’ (‘Shorty’) due to his 5-foot-2-inch (1.58meter) height, for years denied all links to the Mafia, nicknamed ‘the octopus’ for its tentacled reach into all areas of society.
His reign of terror continued from behind bars and he also famously ordered the brutal murder of a 13-year old boy Giuseppe Di Matteo who was kidnapped, strangled and his body dissolved in acid in a bid to stop his father from spilling Mafia secrets.
Toto Riina’s wife Ninetta Bagarella (L) and his son Salvo attend the funeral in Corleone, Italy, on November 22
Toto Riina’s wife Ninetta Bagarella and his son Salvo are escorted as they leave the cemetery after the mafia boss’s funeral
The boy’s father Santino Di Matteo made a desperate trip to Sicily to try to negotiate his son’s release but on January 11, 1996, after 779 days, the boy, who by now had also become physically ill due to mistreatment, was finally strangled.
The body was subsequently dissolved in a barrel of acid to prevent the family holding a proper funeral at which they could mourn and to destroy evidence, a practice known as the ‘lupara bianca’.
In 2009 he broke the Mafia code of ‘omerta’ – a vow of silence – and surprised those who thought he would take his secrets to the grave by admitting his link to the mob.
He was caught on a wiretap earlier this year saying he ‘regrets nothing’ and ‘they’ll never break me, even if they give me 3,000 years’ in jail.
He is believed to have first murdered for the Mafia aged 19 and followed that a year later by killing a man during an argument – landing him behind bars for a six-year manslaughter stretch.
Once out, he became a foot soldier for volatile and vain boss Luciano Leggio, eventually taking over from him at the end of the 1970s when the cigar-puffing fugitive was caught and jailed.
Riina went on the run himself in 1969, but continued to lead the Corleonesi clan from hiding, increasing his influence by bumping off rivals such as Filippo Marchese, a hitman who garroted his victims in a ‘room of death’.
The mobster would elude police efforts to snare him for almost a quarter of a century – without ever leaving Sicily – and took charge of Cosa Nostra’s key businesses, from drug trafficking to kidnapping and racketeering.
His bloody victory in the Mafia War of the 1980s was to prove his undoing however, as mobsters from defeated rival families began turning state witness against him, and police tracked him to a house in Palermo.
The justice ministry had allowed his family a bedside visit at a hospital in Parma shortly before his death.
Earlier this year, Italy’s highest court ruled that due to Riina’s terminal illness, he had a right to ‘die with dignity’ under house arrest like any other terminally ill prisoner.
Toto Riina’s daughter Maria Concetta leaves the cemetery after the funeral in Corleone
The decision drew fierce criticism from across the Italy’s political spectrum and wider society.
The decision was left with a parole board in the northern city of Bologna, near Parma, where Riina was being held, but failed to make a ruling before his death.
The mobster was married to Antonietta Bagarella, a teacher from a mafioso family. He was father to four children, one of whom is behind bars for four murders.
Riina was buried in a private ceremony that underscored the complicated mourning process for families of mafiosi.
‘Toto Riina is to be considered a manifest sinner who didn’t show the necessary public and true repentance for his crimes,’ Archbishop Michele Pennisi of Monreale, which includes Corleone, told the local La Sicilia di Catania.
While a public funeral is forbidden, a priest can lead the family in private prayer as an act of ‘Christian piety,’ he said.
Nicknamed ‘The Beast’ because of his cruelty, Riina was was laid to rest in the family tomb, which sits near the graves of other famed mobster chiefs.
His coffin, with white flowers on top, was briefly blessed by a priest as mourners including his wife and three of his four children looked on, according to Italian media reports.
The cemetery was closed to the press amid a heavy police presence.
Riina’s son Giovanni, who is serving time in jail for four murders, was not given permission to attend.
The Church had refused to give the man dubbed ‘U Curtu’ (‘Shorty’) – who led a reign of terror for almost 20 years after taking control of the Cosa Nostra in the 1970s – a public funeral.
He continued to order hits from behind bars and was caught on wiretap this year saying he regretted ‘nothing’.
La Repubblica daily noted his favourite nephew Giovanni Grizzaffi, who had been named by Riina as a possible successor, was not present at the burial.
As the burial took place, Facebook was forced to apologize after removing messages of condolences that flowed in after his death last week.
The Facebook profiles of his daughter and her husband were inundated with condolences – such as ‘Buon viaggio zio Totò’ or ‘Have a good journey Uncle Toto’ – as well as denunciations for his crimes.
A Facebook spokesperson said these posts of condolences on the feed of Riina’s son-in-law were removed in error.
Additionally, Riina’s daughter Maria Concetta posted a photo of a woman kissing her finger with the words ‘shh…’ written on it.
She then blasted Facebook writing: ‘The background picture of my fb profile does not want to be a mobster message where the silence, but the request to respect this personal moment of pain!’
Her husband posted an article on Facebook in Italian that roughly translates as ‘Facebook apologizes to the family of the boss for removing messages of condolence from social media platform.’
More condolence posts were written on the back of him posting the article including one friend writing: ‘Goodbye Uncle Toto, you’re going to the angels.’
Riina famously ordered the brutal murder of a 13-year old boy Giuseppe Di Matteo (pictured) who was kidnapped, strangled and his body dissolved in acid in a bid to stop his father from spilling Mafia secrets