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The Sicilian banker who left his lucrative job in England to fight the Mafia in his hometown

By David Amoruso

A Sicilian banker had enough of his cushy job and six-figure salary and decided he wanted to do something with more meaning. So he put his life on the line fighting the Mafia as the mayor of a remote village in Sicily.

48-year-old Gaspare Giacalone managed billion-dollar investments as a manager at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development in the City of London. But in 2012 he decided to quit and become the mayor of his his former hometown Petrosino on the western coast of Sicily. The village lies smack in the middle of the territory ruled by fugitive Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, recognized as Cosa Nostra’s boss of bosses.

At his new job, Giacalone combats typical mob rackets like illegal construction and waste disposal controlled. These actions have made him an enemy of the Mafia. Asked by The Guardian newspaper if he’s aware of the risks, Giacalone smiles and throws open his arms, saying “It’s a dirty job,” he says, “but someone’s got to do it.”

Perhaps he was inspired by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who once said: “I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil, and I believe that in the end good will triumph.”

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