Daniel Kinahan’s mafia associate Raffaele Imperiale wanted to buy the Italian professional football club Calcio Napoli “with drug money”, it has been claimed.
he 46-year-old boss of the Naples-based Camorra organisation, who is currently facing extradition to Italy from Dubai where he was arrested in August, and his business partner Mario Cerrone, were ready to buy the Neapolitan football team, according to a collaborator who is now working with justice authorities in Italy.
“Cerrone and Imperiale have a crazy economic availability, they also wanted to buy the Napoli Calcio company,” investigation documents reveal.
Imperiale, who had links with mafias all over the world and who had “invested” in two stolen Van Goghs, was preparing to add the top flight of Italian football, that once featured superstar Diego Maradona, to his portfolio.
Imperiale, who had been wanted by Italian authorities since 2016 to serve an eight year sentence for drug trafficking, is currently facing extradition from Dubai.
The Mafia Don was secretly arrested in his luxury Dubai villa while he was in the pool with his wife and four children.
Imperiale is a known associate of Daniel Kinahan and was a guest at his 2017 wedding in Dubai.
The Naples review court recently ordered that Imperiale must remain in prison in Dubai after rejecting a request by his lawyers that he is freed pending his extradition.
The court made the decision after hearing Imperiale is not a “simple drug supplier” but “one of the pillars on which the whole Camorra organization of the Di Lauro clan splinters rests”.
Imperiale is believed to be one of the leaders of a ‘super-cartel’ which controls a major portion of Europe’s lucrative cocaine trade.
Prosecutors also claim Imperiale has ties with the leaders of Holland’s notorious ‘Mocro Maffia’, led by Ridouan Taghi.
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) documents sent to Dutch police identified Imperiale, Dutch mobster Ridouan Taghi, Bosnian criminal Edin Gačanin, Richard ‘El Rico’ Riquelme Vega and Daniel Kinahan as the heads of a so-called ‘super drug cartel’.
According to the DEA, Imperiale, Taghi and Edin Gačanin also attended Kinahan’s wedding at the plush Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai in 2017.
The DEA documents described the ‘super drugs cartel’ as one of the world’s fifty largest drug cartels, with a virtual monopoly of the Peruvian cocaine trade.
The documents said the ‘super drugs cartel’ controlled around a third of the cocaine trade into Europe – with the main point of access through Dutch ports
Born in Italy, Imperiale’s criminal career began in earnest in 1996 when an older brother who died bequeathed him the Rockland coffee shop in Amsterdam
From here Imperiale is alleged to have embarked on his criminal career by selling ‘soft’ drugs before expanding into cocaine trafficking with Dutch drug trader Rick van de Bunt.
Imperiale was later introduced by Antonio Orefice, a member of the Moccia clan, and to Elio Amato, brother of Raffaele Amato, who was at that time one of the top drug traffickers of the Di Lauro clan.
During those years Imperiale earned millions of euros, becoming the point of contact for the Di Lauro’s organization in dealing with drug trafficking cartels in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.
Imperiale is also known to be a fanatical collector of art works.
In 2016, two Van Gogh paintings, stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2002, were recovered in a villa in Castellammare di Stabia, owned by him.
According to authorities, Imperiale was spending a fortune maintaining a lavish lifestyle in Dubai
In March of this year further evidence emerged of the links between the Kinahan cartel and Imperiale at the trial of Richard ‘El Rico’ Riquelme Vega in Amsterdam.
Judges heard briefly from the prosecution how Kinahan, was a “regular contact” of Riquelme’s and was in a video on a phone seized from him following his arrest and extradition to Holland from Chile in 2017
In June, Riquelme was sentenced to 11 years in prison after being found guilty of operating an assassination ring and laundering drug money.
His trial heard he had exchanged phone messages organising gangland murders with jailed drug boss Taghi.
Meanwhile, Taghi is facing accusations relating to six gangland murders in the Netherlands as well as drugs trafficking charges.
A leader of the notorious Mocro Maffia, Dutch media claim Taghi was behind the murder of well-known crime journalist Peter De Vries who had been advising and acting as a confidant for a witness in a case against Taghi, when he was gunned down in Amsterdam in July.