The Big Issue Seller Who Was Really a Fugitive Mafia Mobster; SECRET LIFE OF ITALIAN ON RUN WHO HAD 11 ALIASES AND A [Pounds sterling]1M RENOIR

Article excerpt


THE SECRET life of a Mafia gangster who spent five years on the run in London is revealed today.

Francesco Tonicello was one of Italy's most wanted men. A master forger, he fenced priceless artworks, antiques and gold for Venetian Godfather, Felice "Angelface" Maniero, as well as furnishing him with fake passports and ID cards.

When Maniero was jailed in the late Nineties, Tonicello fled to London and spent the past few years in a flat in Vauxhall. Italian authorities finally caught him when they intercepted a cake sent to him by his mother.

Tonicello, 35, was a feared foot soldier for the Mala del Brenta, the northern Italian Mafia of the Veneto region. He was involved in armed robbery, drug dealing and money laundering.

Maniero, boss of Mala del Brenta, stole religious icons from the state for ransom.

After he was jailed, police found a [pounds sterling]1million Renoir and other priceless paintings, believed to have been fenced by Tonicello, in his Swiss safety deposit boxes. …


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