Mafia mobster is freed from jail just 12 months into 15 year sentence because of ALLERGY to the beans on prison menu
By Nick Pisa
PUBLISHED: 15:35, 23 March 2012 | UPDATED: 16:25, 23 March 2012
A convicted Mafia mobster has been freed early from his 15 year jail term because he is allergic to the vegetables on the prison menu.
Millionaire Michele Aiello, 56, told the judge at a special appeal hearing he was intolerant to beans, peas, spinach and all other types of greens offered to inmates serving time behind bars.
Lawyers acting for the businessman provided medical certificates as evidence in their argument for Aiello to be released after serving little more than a year of his original sentence.
He was arrested in Palermo on the Italian island of Sicily in 2010 and charged with being the financial brains behind a Mafia money laundering operation.
It saw him lending his name and that of relatives to dozens of companies and properties so cash from criminal activity could be recycled and cleaned up.
Police said Aiello laundered more than €800million for jailed Mafia Godfather Bernardo Provenzano, who was caught in 2006 after almost 40 years on the run.
The two were said to be ‘close associates’ with the mobster investing personally in the businessman’s numerous activities.
Aiello had been serving his sentence in a maximum security jail at Sulmona in central Italy where a spokesman admitted the menu was ‘mainly vegetable based’.
Dishes included ‘pasta with beans, rice with peas, cuttlefish with peas and minestrone soup.’
His lawyer Sergio Monaco said: ‘The menu that was being offered to my client was completely incompatible with his medical condition. There were far too many vegetables being served and he is intolerant to them and it affects his health.’
In her ruling judge Laura Longo said: ‘The prison food offered does not permit a diet adequate for the inmate and according to article nine of the Italian penal code prison food must be adequate, healthy, sufficient for the age, gender, state of health, work season and climate.
‘In this case continuing with the prison diet raised the possibility of the inmate have a haemolytic reaction and that is absolutely not permissable.
‘There is a serious and concrete risk to his health if he remains in prison and eats the menu offered and he therefore cannot remain inside.’
She then ruled that he should be given house arrest in his home town of Palermo.
Today there was amazement in Italian newspapers and in TV and radio reports carrying the story with respected daily newspaper La Repubblica calling judge Longo’s decision ‘astonishing’ and ‘incredible’.
One outraged reader posted on La Repubblica’s website: ‘I’d be very happy to have that menu every day – can’t they just take the vegetables out and serve him plain pasta and rice?
‘There are thousands of people who would love to eat as well as this convicted Mafia mobster does.’
Last year it emerged that one Godfather was able to enjoy champagne and lobster dinners while serving his time in Palermo jail – a scene that would not looked out of place in the classic 1990 Mob movie Goodfellas where the leading characters are seen tucking into a lavish spaghetti with meatballs dinner behind bars.
In the Martin Scorcese film lead Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) describes in detail how Godfather Paulie Cicero (Paul Sorvino) prepared the dinner.
He says: ‘In prison dinner was always a big thing. We had a pasta course, then we had meat or a fish. Paulie was doing a year for contempt and had a wonderful system for the garlic.
‘He used a razor and sliced it so thin it would liquefy in the pan with a little oil. It’s a very good system.’