Naples pizzeria whose founder cooked for Bill Clinton seized in mafia investigation

A pizzeria in the heart of Naples that was founded by a man who made a pizza for Bill Clinton has been seized by police in a mafia-related investigation.

The owner of Dal Presidente and his wife are among five people arrested on suspicion of the business being linked to the Camorra’s Contini clan.

The pizzeria, on via Tribunali, was opened by the late Ernesto Cacialli, who was nicknamed “the president’s pizza-maker” after preparing a pizza a portafoglio, or “wallet pizza”, for Clinton at Di Matteo, where he worked when the former US president was in the city for the G7 in 1994. Clinton was touring Naples’ historic centre with his entourage of bodyguards when he was reportedly lured to Di Matteo by the scent of pizza.

Cacialli, who won several pizza-making awards, opened Dal Presidente in 2001, where he “churned out a thousand pizzas a day” until his death at the age of 60, according to the website of La Figlia Del Presidente, a restaurant owned by his daughter.

The purchase of Dal Presidente by its current owner was allegedly funded with the pizzo, or protection money, that came from a prominent member of the Contini clan. The suspected mafioso also “took an interest” in the business, “from the baking staff to the choice of products used for the dough”, Il Fatto Quotidiano reported.

The pizzeria, popular with Neapolitans and tourists, is among €35m worth of assets seized by police in the investigation.

Its confiscation came as a surprise to regular customers – sort of. “I have eaten there many times, it is one of the most well-known pizzerias in Naples,” said one customer, who asked to remain anonymous. “The pizza was very good, but I heard from others that there was something a little strange about it … then it all came out yesterday.”

Three of the suspects have been jailed while two, including a police officer, have been placed under house arrest. They face charges of fraudulent asset transfers and money laundering.

The Guardian