This reconstruction of the most serious attacks against the Sicilian journalist because of his articles was published on the 11th April 2018 by Agenzia Italia
Paolo Borrometi, 35, from Modica (Ragusa), journalist, editor of the website La Spia and collaborator with AGI, author of investigations into the Mafia and criminal activity, under armed escort for the last three years, has been for some time a constant target for the Mafia of Ragusa and Syracuse. A growing hatred, ready to explode has been revealed today in a wiretap in which the “boss” of Pachino, Salvatore Giuliano, gave the order to kill him: “Let him be killed”
“Be Careful”: the ambush by hooded figures was the first warning already in 2013; in October unknown persons damaged the car of the journalist writing with a pointed instrument along the side of the car the warning “Be Careful”. It was the beginning of a criminal escalation. On the 16th April 2014 Borrometi was violently attacked by hooded men whilst he was in the countryside around Modica near a family property. The young reporter had just arrived to feed his dogs when he was grabbed by the shoulders by two individuals with their faces covered who beat him up so severely as to fracture his shoulder. A little before the attack, Borrometi had taken part in a broadcast of Rai “I fatti vostri” (Your Facts) to describe the case of the murder of Ivano Inglese committed by the Mafia in 2012 at Vittoria. The investigations, which had been archived, were reopened by the Procurator of Ragusa after the broadcast. In the night between the 22nd and 23rd August of 2014 there was further intimidation. The door of the Borrometi family’s house in the centre of Modica was set alight. Some days before in front of the house there was the writing, “Borrometi you are dead”.
AGI is standing by him – in that same month, the then director of AGI Roberto Iadicicco, went to Ragusa to meet the collaborator of the press agency, the prefect and the provincial commandant of the police who was personally in charge of the investigations. Among the journalism investigations on which Borrometi had been working there was the one on the manipulations by organised crime in the municipality of Scicli which was subsequently suspended for Mafia infiltration. From February 2014 Paolo Borrometi – up until then a stringer of AGI in Ragusa – became a collaborator within the central editorial office in Rome. This was a decision taken by the management and by the company to remove him from a hostile environment. From Rome the journalist continued to write on the criminal activities of the Mafia in eastern Sicily and on its capacity to manipulate local governments.
The Rome Press Association underlined how AGI had undertaken “an operation of care and protection towards this colleague. An example to follow.”
The Mafia Matrix: in October 2015 the anti-mafia division of Catania conducted searches and confiscations related to the two being investigated for threats to Borrometi. The investigation confirmed that the intimidations came from the organised crime world and had Mafian characteristics. The mobile squad of Ragusa thoroughly searched dwellings and commercial premises in collaboration with the postal police, seized computers and data material after having surprised the suspects with the profile still open on the website of the online daily “La Spia”. On the 21st January 2016 the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella nominated Paolo Borrometi Cavalier of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy together with the colleague of La Repubblica Federica Angeli dealing with criminality in Ostia.
“I’ll take your head off”. The author of the death threats, the serial offender Giombattista Ventura, regent of the mafia clan Dominante-Carbonaro of Vittoria was arrested in February 2016. The man, the brother of Filippo Ventura (considered by the national anti-Mafia division to be the head of the Mafia of Vittoria) had been in the past sentenced for murder, criminal association, drug trafficking and kidnapping. His threats were blatant, public, on Facebook, “I’ll remove your head even inside the police station of Vittoria. From now on it will be your worst nightmare and we’ll meet wherever!” Ventura, by his own admission, “didn’t accept that the journalist spoke about him and his family”. On the 26th May the arrest warrant arrived in Catania for the boss for aggravated Mafia-style threats. On the prosecuting side there were the national and regional Ordine dei giornalisti and the national press federation. In July the trial of Ventura began. In September Borrometi gave evidence in the courtroom as the offended party.
And he began to relate how everything had begun with a “public investigation which referred to the release from prison of Sig. Angelo Ventura, son of the accused and to a firm of undertakers which bore the name Ventura. According to my sources it was not the exclusive ownership of Maurizio Angelo Cutello but was fifty per cent owned by Ventura”. The first threatening messages arrived “after the publication of an article which dealt with the presence in the wholesale fruit and vegetable market of organised crime, offenders and serial offenders.”
“I’ll eat your heart”. In March 2017 there is the arrest warrant at Catania for Venerando Lauretta already sentenced for mafia activities, for aggravated threats to the journalist. Lauretta expressed himself on Facebook like this, “Your heart will be put in the frying pan. And afterwards I’ll eat it, do you understand bed wetter?”. The following 4th April Giombattista Ventura was sentenced to a year and eight months in prison.
But the threats didn’t stop. “A big piece of shit, “police”, as soon as I see again my face or my brother’s face in one of your articles I’ll come even to your house to look for you and I’ll massacre you”.
This was the warning , last November, from Francesco De Carolis, serial offender and brother of Luciano De Carolis held to be one of the key figures in the Bottaro-Attanasio clan of Syracuse.
The plot between Ragusa and Syracuse: The recording of the threats was published on the website of AGI and picked up by other media; an intimidation linked to an article of Borrometi in which the Mafia businesses in Syracuse were described and the gang bosses freely circulating: among them there was precisely De Carolis already sentenced for Mafia association, murder and drug offences.
On the 25th November 2016 Francesco De Carolis was arrested for attempting serious Mafia-style violence. But two months before, on the 31st August 2016 Borrometi received new threats. They came from the head of the Pachino Mafia, Salvatore Giuliano precisely the same boss wiretapped while he gave the order to kill the journalist, as we now know today. Salvatore Giuliano together with his son Gabriele writes on Facebook and in an email sent to Articolo21, the journalist association of which Borrometi is president: “I’ll break your …. I am Salvatore Giuliano, don’t touch my person and above all my image. Stop publishing about me.”
For this intimidation, Salvatore Giuliano and his son went to trial on the 1st February 2018 with the charges of attempted violence and death threats, aggravated by their Mafia method and belonging to a Mafia clan. The latest investigation by Paolo Borrometi, exclusively for AGI is from last March and deals with the company, “La Fenice srl” linked to the Mafia boss Salvatore Giuliano and involved in the lucrative business in Pachino of cherry tomatoes.
Created in September 2013, a few months after the release from jail of Giuliano, it has two partners, Gabriele Giuliano, the son of the boss and Simone Vizzini who is among those arrested in today’s police operation.
After the publication of the article of Borrometi, “La Fenice srl” has been expelled from the IGP Consortium of Pachino. Five days later, the farm building of the then president of the Consortium, Giuseppe Fortunato was destroyed by arson.