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'Say no to the Mafia' says renowned Sicilian chef

Natale Giunta turned four Mafiosi in for attempted extortion

05 December, 18:17
'Say no to the Mafia' says renowned Sicilian chef (ANSA) - Palermo, December 5 - Sicilian chef Natale Giunta, who has been living under threat by organized crime after turning four men in for attempted extortion earlier this year, on Thursday renewed his appeal to businesspeople to stand up to the Mafia. "The racketeers started leaning on me in March 2012", the renowned restaurateur and TV cooking show star told a RAI 1 radio program this morning. "They told me I should put my business in order. In Mafia terms, you're supposed to ask the clans for permission before opening a business".

"I did not hesitate to go to the police, because that culture is alien to me", the Palermo native said.

Police in February arrested Giuseppe Battaglia, Antonino Ciresi, Maurizio Lucchese, and Alfredo Perricone on charges of attempted extortion with Mafia purposes. They allegedly required Giunta to pay 2,000 euros every Easter and every Christmas "into a prisoners' families fund". Since then, Giunta has received several "messages": his restaurant was wrecked twice, a tank of petrol was left at his door, and a gang of four men drove up to his family home and spoke to his mother. "I call on everyone to say no to extortion", he added. "If there are a lot of us, it will have to stop".

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