Thursday, March 17, 2011

Versace Mafia Murder Claim Heats Up

News comes that there may be some startling revelations about the mighty Versace fashion empire soon.

Earlier we reported on the new book "Metastasi" by respected Italian investigative reporter Gianluigi Nuzzi in which he said that the feared and  notorious Italian Calabrian mafia N'Drangheta had murdered the fashion house creator and designer Gianni Versace. The book has become a huge best-seller in Europe and the Anti-Mafia office in Rome immediately announced an investigation. Nuzzi's source was a good one- a former mafia godfather turned whistle-blower who a Rome mafia investigator said had always provided true and solid evidence which had helped convict dozens of mafia criminals.

Nuzzi's claims were similar to those made many years before by the Australian private eye Frank Monte who worked for Gianni in New York investigating employees who Versace thought was on the fiddle. Monte published an auto-biography The Spying Game which included the mafia murder tale and all hell broke loose.

He soon found himself in the Australian Federal Court being sued by Santo and Donatella Versace in a bizarre case where they spent millions of dollars to have Monte's book pulped. Ironically when Monte re-published his book without the mafia murder claims the publicity from the trial helped it become a best seller in Europe.

As we exclusively reported- Donatella while replying under oath via satelite and surrounded by lawyers- to questions from Monte's barrister Clive Evatt QC said she had "never used drugs" yet just a few years later she said in an interview in Italian Vogue which was reprinted throughout the world that she had been addicted to illicit drugs long before and after her brother's murder and that friends like Sir Elton John had helped her go to a clinic to recover.

At home Monte had been pilloried by the local media who hung off every word from the two Versaces seemingly bedazzled by their celebrity status.

 Not one of those who then wrote so forcefully of how Monte had allegedly defamed the good Versace name bothered to follow up on how Donatella appears to have thumbed her nose at Australia's highest court. Either she lied in court or she lied to Vogue. Santo Versace said he would sue anyone who repeated Gianluigi Nuzzi's claims. A spokesperson for Nuzzi's office says no lawsuit has been forthcoming.

The Shuttle can now exclusively report that an associate of the Versace company has been arrested in Italy and another high profile one is under investigation.

To be continued....