Showing posts with label Gianluigi Nuzzi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gianluigi Nuzzi. Show all posts

Sunday, January 21, 2018

That Big Versace lie

Private eye Frank Monte and girlfriend Sharon Sargeant
WHILE THE VERSACE FAMILY fulminate about the new TV series The Assassination of Gianni Versace : American Crime Story about the murder of Gianni Versace one matter still remains unresolved.
In 2002 Donatella and Santos Versace sued Sydney and Los Angeles based private eye Frank Monte for defamation over his book, The Spying Game in which Monte alleged Gianni was murdered over his involvement with the Italian Mafia and that the accused killer Andrew Cunanan was acting for the Mafia but soon realized he had been set up as a patsy and as promised support from the underworld evaporated he killed himself shortly after.

The Australian media, as it so often
does acted like a chorus chamber and their reports on the Versace family were frankly, embarrassing as they treated the Versaces like Royalty and Monte like something the cat dragged in who dared to challenge the Versace empire.

Not one media outlet- bar Whispers- has reported one very pertinent fact. Donatella Versace was grilled via a TV link in the Australian Federal Court by one of Australia's most respected legal eagles Clive Evatt QC.
She emphatically, and with some outrage stated that she had never taken drugs in her life and said the claim was an outrageous lie. Monte lost the case.

Yet less than 2 years later Donatella Versace gave an interview to Vogue Magazine in which she stated that she had been addicted to cocaine before and after Gianna's murder and the singer Sir Elton John had aided her recovery in a clinic.
Donatella had committed perjury in Australia's top court and the Australian media remained mute, occasionally continuing their outrage at Monte's claim the Versace empire was propped up by Mafia money.

In 2011 one of Italy's most famous and respected investigative journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi released the book "Metastasi" in which he detailed how the feared and  notorious Italian Calabrian mafia N'Drangheta had murdered the fashion icon over financial skullduggery. Santos Versace threatened to sue Nuzzi over claims that mirrored Monte's. He never did.

Even in the current controversy over the new TV series to be screened in the UK and USA next week, the Australian media still remains silent on this insult to our courts. The provincial nature of our media is sometimes an embarrassment.
# with the original book pulped, Monte re-released The Spying Game without the Versace claims which became a best-seller in Europe.
## In 2010 a Miami detective confirmed their suspicions echoed Monte's claim of Mafia involvement in Gianni's murder.
### Vanity Fair's article on Maureen Orth's book on which the new Versace TV series is based.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Pope,His Butler The PI, A Hooker & The MP

Are the wheels about to come rolling of the wagon that besieged MP Craig Thomson has been lashed to by Fairfax Media and the Federal Opposition ?.
As the days go by and the dust settles, it seems Craig Thomson may have been the victim of a massive set-up that involves dirty political deeds to unseat a Federal Member of Parliament, which if successful, could have brought down Julia Gillard's premiership.

The sight of Coalition leader Tony Abbott sprinting to the doors in the Chamber 2 days ago, and hammering to be let out as Craig Thomson crossed the floor to vote with Abbott's party was one of the most extraordinary scenes witnessed in Canberra for some time.

Channel 7
Fairfax senior journalist Kate McClymont has written over a dozen tales about Thomson (without interviewing him ) including about  his alleged visits to bordellos and the money supposedly racked up on his union credit card. Where McClymont obtained the documents published in the original tale is a  mystery. Did they come from Thomson's union enemy Kathy Jackson?.

 Dark clouds are now gathering around Jackson and her partner, a judge with Fair Work Australia who investigated Thomson's spending of large sums of union money including contributions to Thomson's election campaign. Thomson has slammed the Fair Work report and the Electoral Commission has dismissed the claim about his electoral expenses.

It seems odd that a bordello that has changed hands twice in the 7 years since Thomson allegedly visited (long before he became an MP) would keep such pristine records. When it was pointed out to McClymont that the photocopied credit card slip showed the name as ThomPson , not Thomson, her Twitter reply was "ask him, he spent the money". Odd words for an investigative journalist.

However the website Independent Australia has been investigating while others like Fairfax and News Ltd have seemingly sung from the same song sheet.

 It appears all is not what it seems with the claims against Thomson and in particular, the documents from the bordello. IE have uncovered that the credit card slip actually carries a rejection code on it. In other words the card was rejected by Mastercard. The very idea that the bordello would keep a rejected slip for over 7 years seems like a fantasy.

Channel Nine's tabloid show, A Current Affair had been frothing at the mouth about it's interview with a hooker for which she was to be paid a $60,000 fee. She claimed to have slept with Thomson while working at the brothel. Yesterday ACA quietly announced they wouldn't be broadcasting the interview.

 Last Thursday noted private investigator Frank Monte was interviewed on 2UE's Drive Time.
Monte scorned the idea that a prostitute could possibly remember a client from 7 years ago particularly as Thomson was an unknown face.
When Frank Monte became involved with the David Jones $38M  harassment suit, within 4 weeks the matter was quickly settled for a 20th of that sum. The rumour at the time was that Monte had uncovered damaging information.

Frank Monte today refused to either confirm or deny if he was involved with Craig Thomson or investigating on Thomson or Channel 9's behalf. Yet within days of his interview, suddenly the Channel Nine interview, trumpeted by them so vocally in the media, vanished.
                                                                                                         Even more bizarre was the attack piece McClymont wrote 5 weeks ago about Monte, much of which was just a re-hash of a previous piece by a hack. She even dredged up the now tainted  Gianni Versace case in 2000 where Donatella & Santo Versace spent over $4M suing Monte in the Federal Court.

Monte had written a book Spying Game in which he said fashion great Gianni Versace was murdered by the Italian Mafia. Santo and Donatella were 'outraged'. Donatella, surrounded by lawyers and under oath, said via video link-up to the Federal Court that she had 'never ever' used illicit drugs. Two years later she gave a well publicised interview to Vogue saying she had 'been addicted to drugs before and after Gianni's murder" and that friends like Elton John has persuaded her to go to re-hab.
There is word the matter may be returning to the Federal Court. If it's found Donatella lied, she could face serious consequences let alone a gigantic law suit from Monte. At the moment, the ex-News Corp editor Andy Coulson is being interviewed in respect of possible perjury in a court case in Scotland. In the Scottish case, socialist MP Tommy Sheridan was jailed for 3 years (serving one) for perjury. Now Coulson is being questioned about evidence he gave in Sheridan's trial.

In 2010 Italy's most respected investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi published a book in which he confirmed what Frank Monte had said 8 years previously-that Gianni Versace was indeed killed in a Mafia hit. Santo Versace vowed to sue anyone who repeated the claims. The Shuttle has received emails from 4 Italian newspapers that did in-depth stories on Nuzzi's Versace claim. Not one has heard a peep out of Santo and they don't expect to. Nuzzi says he is not worried by Santo's threats.

Last week as a result of Nuzzi's investigations of The Vatican in his book Vaticano S.p.A, Pope Benedict's butler was arrested.

And last night the Shuttle attended an Eastern Suburb's function and chatted to a local Liberal Party heavy. He mused that the Coalition's Thomson attack was a shambles and that he expected that, rather than Julia Gillard, it will be Tony Abbott who will be gone within 4 months. You read it here first.

Below is a reminder of Tony Abbott at work:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More On The Versace "Mafia Hit"

 An intriguing new theory about the murder of famous designer Gianni Versace has surfaced, this time from Versace's long time lover, the designer Antonio D'Amico.
Antonio D'Amico
D'Amico & Versace

D'Amico was speaking a few nights ago on the popular Italian entertainment program Verissimo.
In an interview with the host Silvia Toffanin he was asked about the murder and replied -"someone sent him"- referring to the alleged killer Andrew Cunanan.
 D'Amico says he struggles to believe that Cunanan would just turn up and kill Versace for no reason.

"In my opinion someone sent him (Cunanan)". Asked to elaborate, Antonio gives an enigmatic reply:
"it's my belief someone who knew Gianni very well, someone who was extremely close to him, sent his assassin. There is no evidence but the truth will come out one day"

D'Amico was a former model who began working in Versace's office in 1982 where he began a relationship with the designer that lasted until his murder. There is little love lost between Antonio and Gianni's sister Donatella Versace and brother Santo.

In Gianni's will D'Amico was left a legacy of around $26,000 a month for life and the right to live in any of Versace's several homes around the world.
Silvia Toffanin

By the time Donatella, Santo and their lawyers were finished, D'Amico received a fraction of his pension and never saw the inside of a Versace house again. Donatella is on record as saying she never liked Gianni's boyfriend. D'Amico now runs his own successful fashion design business.

And where does this leave the claim by two Mafia informants that Gianni Versace was murdered over debts to the Mafia who they say had invested earlier on in his fashion design corporation ?

P.I. Frank Monte
Those claims were published by the respected Italian investigative reporter Gianluigi Nuzzi in his 2010 book Metastasi which has been a best seller in Europe with an English version in the works.
At the time a furious Santo Versace threatened to sue anyone who repeated the Mafia hit claim. Nonetheless it was printed in hundreds of newspapers around the world and not one, including author Nuzzi has received notice from solicitors.

It's far cry from 2003 when Santo and Donatella hauled Australian private eye Frank Monte into the Australian Federal Court for making the same claim in his best selling autobiography Spying Game.
Monte had worked for Gianni in New York investigating Versace's fears that an insider was cooking the books. The Versace's spent millions of dollars to silence Monte and Pan McMillan had to pulp 26,000 copies of his book which was later published without the Versace Mafia link.

Frank Monte is restrained by the Federal Court from discussing the Nuzzi claims that mirror his own and the Australian media had a field day during the highly publicized Monte court case but oddly, have been largely silent over Nuzzi's book. Only weeks before Nuzzi published his book the Shuttle spoke to several tabloid writers who scoffed at Monte's original claim and were equally vocal when it was revealed he was investigating the David Jones sexual harassment claim. That turned out to be true.

Monte will not return calls about D'Amico's claim and our legal eagle expert says :
"Monte would still be restrained by the original court orders so probably steers clear of any discussion over the Versaces" " Mind you" he continued " I can't see Donatella or Santo taking him on again if he did speak to the media. Donatello could be called to explain the inconsistent evidence she gave to the Sydney court under oath where she claimed, surrounded by lawyers during a satellite link-up,that she had never ever taken drugs and then 2 years later gave an interview to Vogue magazine where she said she had been addicted to drugs before and after Versace's death. Courts don't take kindly to being treated like mugs"

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....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Demure Shazza Heads Home

On Wednesday she was sunning herself on the beach at Acapulco.

Marketing manager Sharon Sargeant, the girlfriend of private eye Frank Monte is now on a plane after a four hour taxi  trip from Acapulco to Mexico City and a flight from there to Los Angeles where she was finally able to get a seat on a Qantas jet  back to Sydney.

Sharon has been watching in alarm as flood waters surged through Queensland and in Northern NSW and in particular Tenterfield where members of her family live. On Wednesday she reckoned she could wait no longer and decided to head home and  see if she could help out in the devastated flood areas.

Sharon may be pleased with a newspaper article that will greet her upon arrival. The Eastern Suburb's social bible, Latte Life has commented on her appearance at the Black & White charity luncheon for Christian the Lion's John Rendall in November last year.

Demure !
According to the tabloid : "thumbs up to a demure "Shazza" at BW  Women's  Luncheon , if she hadn't been with Mr Monte we may not have recognised her."
Demure ?. We present a couple of snaps of Sharon from the lunch. 

Meanwhile Frank Monte is spending a few more days in Acapulco before he heads to Italy. Monte has an appointment with the powerful AntiMafia Commission in Rome which investigates "organised crime of the Mafia type" and the dreaded Camorra and Ndrhangeta clans.
When the Shuttle managed to get Monte on the telephone today we asked him if his Rome visit was in connection with new claims by Italian  investigative reporter Gianluigi Nuzzi that Gianni Versace was murdered by the mafia.

"I can't discuss anything with you " said Monte. "excuse me, I have to take another call " he said before hanging up !

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Versace Mafia Claims & The Australian Link

The story is so hot in Italy that the media there has gone into meltdown. On December 2nd  respected investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi published his new book Metastis; A Chronicle of 'Blood & Money".

Gianluigi Nuzzi
In Metastis Mafia godfather Giuseppe di Bella, now a police supergrass says that fashion designer Gianni Versace was murdered by the notorious Calabrian Mafia  N’drangheta, a little known but feared group with close ties to South American drug lords.
di Bella says that he and his fellow mobsters laundered billions of dollars for the South Americans by filtering it through legitimate businesses and one of them was the Versace fashion empire to the tune of $200M a year. 

He claims that Gianni Versace was taking so much money out of his fashion business and taking so much cocaine he was beginning to believe the money belonged to him. di Bella says a hit was ordered on Versace to teach others a lesson.

And he says the reported killer of Versace, Andrew Cunanan was a patsy and was himself murdered by the Mafia.

Giancarlo Capaldo, of the Rome based anti Mafia department, said: 'We have opened a file into what Di Bella says - he is an informer and his information in the past has always proved correct.'
In a statement the Versace family said: 'The declarations from the informer are false and shameful.

Gianni Versace, whose celebrity friends included Diana, Princess of Wales, Elton John,  Madonna and Naomi Campbell was shot at close range in the back of the head on the steps of his Miami mansion on July 15, 1997 in what detectives at the time speculated had the hallmarks of a mob hit.

Cunanan was found dead  several days later on a Miami houseboat. It was claimed to be a suicide.

But the Versace Mafia claims are not new.
Ten years ago Santo and Donatello Versace took Australian private eye Frank Monte to court in Sydney after he published a book, The Spying Game in which he detailed the very same claims. The Versaces won their case and the book was pulped.
Frank Monte

While few questions were asked at the time about why the Versaces  bothered coming all the way to the Sydney Supreme Court to take on Monte something quite different was happening in Italy.

Numerous Italian publications said that  it was common knowledge that Gianni Versace and the Mafia were ln bed together.

While Monte was on the receiving end of criticism in the Australian media, the opposite was happening in Italy. He was being hailed as a hero for exposing the Versace empire as a fashion fairy tale just too good to be true. They treated him as the underdog in the Sydney trial. Meanwhile Italian newspapers published photographs of Gianni leaving by boat from his lavish villa on Lake Como accompanied by known Mafia members. 

The local Australian media has all but ignored the di Bello story but in Italy, the UK and the USA the story is gaining traction. At least 2 major British newspapers are to shortly publish new details about the Versace empire and both have contacted Monte.

Now the Shuttle has seen a copy of a manuscript written not long after the Versace shooting-The Miami Jigsaw. The author received several credible death threats at the time and decided not to publish. The manuscript contains  never before published details of the Versace and Cunanan deaths in Miami, much of it sourced from detectives who worked on the case.

There are details that possibly didn't seem that important at the time but with  the Gianluigi Nuzzi book now become very pertinent.

Such as the fact that ownership of the houseboat on which Andrew Cunanan's body was found , linked back to a known Mafia member and was a base for mob members. Despite the well publicised details of Cunanan's trip across the USA from California to Miami on a serial murder spree, no publication at the time mentioned  his stay in Las Vegas before the trip began.

In FBI records there are details of Cunanan receiving large sums of money  in Vegas despite having no job or income with photos of him meeting with mob members. In police reports the pathologist who examined Cunanan's body said that the claim that he had died 8 days after Versace was dubious and that he may have in fact, died before Versace.

Witnesses say the man who shot Versace yelled a known Mafia curse in Italian. Cunanan did not speak the language. Nor did any of those witnesses identify Cunanan as the shooter. Beside Gianni's bod lay a dead pigeon, a known Mafia symbol.

In The Miami Jigsaw it's clear that Miami police held little faith in the Cunanan murder theory, particularly as Versace had been killed in a classic Mafia style hit in broad daylight.   Added to this was the manner in which Cunanan had killed all his other victims-shooting them front on while facing them or torturing them first.

The book has  FBI records to show the federal agency thought similarly.

Last night Santo Versace confronted  Giuseppe di Bella on Italian television and poured scorn on di Bella's claims. But when di Bella said that he had met Santo on a number of occasions which Santo denied, he revealed intimate details of Santo's home. Today talk back radio in Rome was running hot with callers on the side of Giuseppe di Bella.

Journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi talks on Italian TV about the N’drangheta and the Versace murder.