|Campania/ Italy|  Francesco Schiavone

Born:  January 6, 1953 - Casal Di Principe, Italy

Dead:  /

Francesco 'Sandokan' Schiavone is a leader of the Casalesi Clan from Casal Di Principe, Campania, which is a big part of the Camorra. His nickname was given to him because of his resemblance of fictional pirate and television hero Sandokan. He was arrested in 1998 after being on the run for 5 years. The press named the Casalesi clan as the successor of the violent Corleonesi Family, which terrorized Sicily throughout the 80's and 90's. The Casalesi clan is a wealthy but violent organization which holds an iron grip over the Italian region. Over the past few decades the clan is believed to be responsible for up to 1000 murders.

Francesco Schiavone was born in 1953 in Casal Di Principe, a commune near Naples, Italy. He was arrested for the first time at the age of 18 for possession of firearms. During the 70's he sided with Antonio Bardellino, the founder of the Casalesi Clan, and participated in the war against the Nuova Camorra Organizzata, a rival faction of the Camorra lead by Raffaele Cutolo. The war left dozens of casualties and came to an end when the NCO was defeated. However, Antonio Bardellino came into conflict with the Nuvoletta clan, led by Lorenzo Nuvoletta, from Marano di Napoli. Bardellino was forced to flee Italy and moved to Brazil. The Casalesi's reacted with killing Ciro Nuvoletta, brother of Lorenzo, and later by killing 8 Nuvoletta associates and wounding another 24 during the so called "Torre Annunziata massacre". Although Bardellino was eventually victorious, he couldn't stop the growing tensions within his own clan. As their power and influence grew, they started to disagree with Bardellino being boss while living and hiding in a wealthy resort in Brazil, payed with money from the Casalesi's. Bardellino was eventually murdered in 1988 by Mario Iovine (or so is believed, Bardellino's body was never found).

Schiavone takes the lead
The Casalesi clan was now in the hands of 5 different families, Schiavone, Iovine, Bidognetti, De Falco and Zagaria. Each family had their own army, Schiavone was believed to be the most powerful. In 1990 Francesco Bidognetti was arrested after he was betrayed by Vincenzo De Falco. One year later De Falco was killed. In retaliation De Falco's brother murdered Mario Iovine in 1991 in Portugal. That same year Schiavone was also arrested an jailed for 2 years. In 1994 another Iovine family member was wiped away when Carmine Iovine was murdered. By this most of the leadership of the Casalesi Clan was murdered or jailed. By the time Schiavone came out of jail the De Falco faction was destroyed and together with the Bidognetti faction he was the most powerful boss of the entire clan.

After his release from prison the judges wanted to put him on surveillance, but Schiavone disappeared. The Casalesi clan became very wealthy thanks to their involvements in construction and waste management. In August 1996 authorities seized 450 billion Lire from the clan and one year later another 515 billion Lire, according to writer Roberto Saviano. A prove of their wealth was when Schiavone's brother Walter, who also played a leading role in the organization, wanted a villa exactly like the one in the movie Scarface because he was so fond of the Cuban gangster played by Al Pacino. Therefore he built a replica worth about 2 million €. The mansion is nowadays used as a clinic.

After being on the run for about 5 years Franscesco Schiavone was arrested on July 11, 1998. All that time he was living in his Naples villa, in a large room behind a granite wall. When the police arrested him they also found allot of high tech tools inside the room. His brother Walter, who was charged with murder, was arrested in 1999 after he tried to escape over his garden wall. On June 19, 2008, Franscesco Schiavone was sentenced to life after a ten year trial against 36 Casalesi members. Over the course of the first trial and the last appeal, five people involved in the case were murdered, including an interpreter. A judge and two journalists received death threats. Schiavone allies Bidognetti and Iovine were also sentenced to life.

Although Schiavone is behind bars for over ten years, it is believed that he still has authority in the Casalesi Clan. The clan continues their path of terror in and round Campania. In June 2008 a police informant and former Camorristi Michele Orsi was murdered in order of the Casalesis and 3 months later 6 African men where killed because they reputedly sold drugs on Casalesi territory. The Clan was also involved in a scheme to buy a first class national football team, Lazio Roma, in July 2008. Because of all the trouble and violence caused by the Casalesi clan Schiavone was denied to have a tv-set in his cell and is still prevented to read any local newspapers.

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