Code-breaking experts at the FBI are helping Italian investigators to determine whether a Bible found on the Mafia's "boss of bosses" when he was arrested in April hides a secret code.
Bernardo Provenzano, the Mafia boss who spent 43 years on the run, had underlined passages in his personal copy of the Bible. Investigators have said these could hold the key to other encoded messages found at his rural hideout in Sicily.
"The FBI is working with the [Italian] state police to determine whether there are any hidden messages in the Bible," said a US government official. It will be scrutinised by code experts at the FBI's Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit in Quantico, Virginia.
Provenzano was found holed up at a farmhouse outside of his hometown of Corleone, made famous by The Godfather movies, after police tracked a package sent by his wife.
He was still the undisputed head of the Costa Nostra mob at the time of his arrest at the age of 73.
In his hideout were paper notes known as "pizzini" with a scramble of numbers which police cryptologists said referred to people. …