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Police: Gucci slaying motivated by greed, jealousy and hatred

February 1, 1997

ROME (AP) _ First he made off with another woman. Then Maurizio Gucci cut his former wife’s alimony to a bare $1 million.

Greed and jealousy drove the ex-wife to hire his killers, Milan police said Saturday.

Patricia Reggiani Martinelli was one of five people charged Friday with the 1995 slaying in Milan of the Gucci family scion. Also arrested were a high-society psychic, a hotel doorman and two alleged hit men.

Gucci was the last family member to hold shares of the company his grandfather founded in Florence in 1906, although the company still bears the family name. He sold his holdings to the Bahrain-based Investcorp for a reported $100 million to $140 million in 1993.

Martinelli, 49, was known for publicly complaining about how much alimony her ex-husband had been paying her. Sometime before his killing, Gucci cut Martinelli’s alimony in half to $1 million a year, police said in telephone interviews Saturday.

Martinelli ``was convinced he would spend all his wealth, leaving the children without money,″ police Inspector Armando Sozzi said. With Gucci’s death, a major portion of his estate would pass on to the divorced couple’s younger daughter, a minor, Sozzi added.

Authorities did not immediately have an estimate of Gucci’s wealth. In addition to a 200-foot yacht and a Milan apartment, he owned a home in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and had offshore bank accounts, police said.

The Guccis were married in 1972 and separated 12 years later. Their two daughters, Alessandra and Allegra, now 21 and 16, went to live with their mother. Gucci eventually moved his companion into his central Milan apartment.

His former wife seethed with ``hatred and rancor for their separation, which she never pardoned,″ and for his relationship with another woman, the inspector said.

On March 27, 1995, the 46-year-old businessman was gunned down as he walked into his Milan office building. Police at the time called it a professional hit.

Italian newspapers reported Saturday that Martinelli made disparaging statements about her former husband.

``As a human being, I don’t like it,″ the Milan daily Corriere della Sera quoted her as saying shortly after Gucci’s slaying. ``But from a personal point of view, I can’t say the same thing.″

The newspaper also described her penchant for heavy jewelry and parties.

Martinelli is accused of ordering the killing. The psychic, Giuseppina Auriemma, is accused of organizing it.

Under questioning Friday, the hotel doorman, Ivano Savioni, admitted his role in the killing, saying he was asked by the psychic _ a longtime friend _ to hire the killers on behalf of Gucci’s former wife, police said.

Savioni and the two alleged hit men, Benedetto Ceraulo and Orazio Cicala, received a total of $310,000, police said. As for the psychic, Martinelli promised her a lifetime monthly stipend of $2,000.

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