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Mafia Suspect Leaps To Death Before Arrest
A businessman jumped more than 100ft to his death after police arrived to arrest him in connection with a multi-million pound mafia money laundering operation.
Giuseppe Cristarelli, 43, was one of 90 people rounded up by police in a series of dawn raids on Wednesday as part of the blitz against organised crime.
Officers said Cristarelli calmly asked for a glass of water, before then running through the fourth-floor apartment, opening a window and leaping more than 100ft to his death in front of his horrified wife.
The incident happened in the Tor di Quinto suburb of Rome and a planned police press conference about the operation was hastily cancelled at the force's city centre headquarters.
Cristarelli was originally from the southern Italian city of Naples, heartland of the local mafia known as the Camorra, and had been named on a judicial investigation document as wanted for questioning on money laundering.
A Rome police spokesman said: "There was no indication of what he was going to do. He asked for a glass of water, then just ran to a window, opened it and jumped out.
"His wife was also in the apartment and she was as shocked as the officers.
"An investigation has been launched and his body is now been taken away for autopsy. A press conference about the operation has been cancelled."
Neighbours reported hearing the father-of-two's wife screaming in the early hours of the morning following the police raid.
One said: "Everyone in the block heard her screaming. It was terrifying. People came out and that's when we found out the husband had jumped from the window.
"No one can quite believe it. They are a lovely family with two children. The wife was taken away for questioning and the block is surrounded by police.
"All I know is that the man is a businessman from Naples. I'm not sure what business exactly though - I think maybe construction but I'm not sure."
In the past, various crime bosses and their associates have chosen to commit suicide both in prison and out rather than face a trial or investigation.
Earlier, police had said the raids were in connection with an operation against the Contini crime family and had involved arrests all over Italy as well as the confiscation of property worth more than 250 million euro.
Detectives said that the blitz was against Camorra money laundering facilities and that businesses seized included around two dozen bars, restaurants and ice-cream parlours in tourist-heavy areas of the capital, near Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, as well as luxury clothes shops in Naples.
The operation was the biggest carried out to date against the Naples-based Contini clan, which launders money and traffics drugs in the Campania region, Tuscany and Rome.
The clan's boss, 64-year-old Salvatore Botta, is already serving time in a Naples prison.
His wife and nephew, who are accused of running the business for him while he is behind bars, were taken into custody during the sting, Rome's anti-mafia unit said in a statement.
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