By Humphrey Carter PALMA National Police have arrested the suspected “financial brains” behind a major Sicilian mafia operating out of Milan. The National Police confirmed yesterday that 54-year-old Marco Rodolfo del Vento, alias Il Dottore (the doctor), was arrested while riding a moped near his apartment in calle Escocia in Cala Major last week as part of a major international operation mounted by the Spanish and Italian police. The National Police serious crime squad has apparently been investigating the activities of del Vento and other suspects in Spain for the past few months and, along with his arrest, the Italian anti-mafia police have detained a further 12 suspects and seized goods and property said to be worth thousands of millions of euros in what has been described as a major blow to the Sicilian mafia. Palma's serious crime squad carried out the suspected mafioso's arrest in accordance with an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol in Rome back in 1995 where he is wanted to face charges which include alleged drugs trafficking, in particular cocaine, and organised crime. Rodolfo is believed to have built a major financial empire by laundering money for the mafia and apparently fled Italy last year for Spain. Since his arrival in the country, he has however been trailed by the police in Madrid, Barcelona and finally to here in Majorca where police, on the understanding that he had finally set up a new base in Cala Major, decided to move. National Police sources revealed yesterday that they searched a property in Cala Mayor and seized 12.800 euros in cash, three mobile telephones, a large number of credit and debit cards, and a false Italian identity card. Police have also raided a number of properties rented by the Italian in other parts of Spain, including a hotel room where he is believed to have spent the night before his arrest with his girlfriend, where a number of lap-top computers and memory sticks were found and confiscated for investigation. It is believed that, despite del Vento having fled to Spain, since his arrival in the country, he has still been controlling his mafia's finances, moving and laundering money via the internet. Marco Rodolfo del Vento was last week flown to Madrid to appear before a Spanish High Court judge and is now in prison awaiting his extradition to Italy where he and the other 12 mafia suspects will stand trial.



FLED ITALY FOR SPAIN