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Kinahan associate Raffaele Imperiale used drugs money to buy €2m in gold every month

Imperiale also revealed in a statement to prosecutors that he had access to the archives of international crime organisation Interpol.

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Kinahan cartel ally Raffaele Imperiale was buying €2 million worth of gold every month before his dramatic arrest last August, his private text messages have revealed.

Italian Imperiale (48) agreed this week to become a State witness in his home country, with his explosive statements to prosecutors now revealing what life was like for the crime boss.

In text messages, the notorious drug trafficker claimed he would re-invest the proceeds of major cocaine deals into purchasing huge amounts of gold.

Through a contact in southern Italy, Imperiale would use cryptocurrency to purchase up to 40kg per month – an estimated €2 million worth.

According to Italian news outlets, Imperiale also revealed in a statement to prosecutors that he had access to the archives of international crime organisation Interpol.

He said that “through a Moroccan friend,” he was able to check the database for any warrants or custody orders aimed at his drug gang.

"I had the Interpol systems checked,” Imperiale told prosecutors in Naples, revealing he then instructed pal Raffaele Mauriello to “come” to Dubai.

Imperiale was number two on Italy’s most wanted list when he was extradited from the UAE, where he attended Daniel Kinahan’s wedding in 2017.


He is now in a bid to become State witness against the Camorra, the drug mafia he was a high-ranking member of for over two decades.

News of his gold-buying comes as court documents recently revealed that the cocaine kingpin blew through an astonishing €7 million as a fugitive in just three months.

He spent more than €3 million on “personal expenses” while on the run in Dubai.

After his extradition to Italy, Imperiale was arrested in his prison cell following a massive anti-mafia operation that led to the seizure of more than four tonnes of cocaine worth more than €800 million.

Imperiale later tried to claim his extradition from Dubai to Italy was a “kidnapping” and in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

But an Italian court said there was no grounds to bring a direct appeal to the Supreme Court.

It is believed his decision to become State Witness came shortly after he was arrested in his cell last October.

His co-operation and arrest is the latest blow to the Kinahan crime gang.

After a ‘super cartel’ crackdown in Dubai in recent weeks, the Irish drug bosses have continued to evade law enforcement.

They are the most senior members of the cartel to have not yet been arrested.

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