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Episode
297

The Murder of Maurizio Gucci

Sep 13, 2022
History
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24
minutes

In March of 1995, the grandson of the founder of Gucci was shot and killed outside his office in Milan.

In this episode, we look at the complicated backstory of family rivalry, and see who ordered the assassination of Maurizio Gucci.

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[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:00:11] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge, and today we are going to be talking about the murder of Maurizio Gucci.

[00:00:28] It’s a story of high fashion, of luxury, of love, rivalries, jealousy, betrayal, warring families, and murder.

[00:00:38] So, let’s not waste a minute and dive right into it.

[00:00:43] On 27th of March 1995, Giuseppe Onorato was working as usual at the stylish office building in which he was a doorman.

[00:00:54] The offices were just a stone’s throw away from Milan’s fashion district, an affluent and trendy area, and not the usual type of setting for the events that would unfold that morning.

[00:01:08] Arriving for work was Maurizio Gucci. Once Gucci’s president, he was now working on his own business from the type of lavish offices he had grown used to.

[00:01:20] As the Italian businessman climbed the front steps, Giuseppe Onorato, the doorman, watched another man get out of a nearby car and walk towards the entrance of the building. 

[00:01:34] Gucci greeted his loyal doorman, who saw the third man drawing a gun.

[00:01:41] There were four shots, at first. Three of these landed in Gucci’s body. The fourth and final shot was to the head.

[00:01:51] But the gunman wasn’t done. He then turned his attention to the shooting's only witness: Giuseppe Onorato, the doorman

[00:02:00] By the time the police arrived, the doorman was sitting in a pool of blood. He had been hit twice in the arm before the gunman had panicked and fled.

[00:02:11] Onorato was injured, but alive. However, it wasn’t just his own blood he was covered in. 

[00:02:19] He was cradling the lifeless body of Maurizio Gucci. The grandson of the man who had founded one of the biggest brands in fashion was dead.

[00:02:30] For many, the murder of a rich and famous businessman in a city like Milan was unheard of. For others, it came as less of a shock; Gucci had many enemies.

[00:02:43] But despite various leads, or suspects, the case would remain unsolved for two years.

[00:02:50] Before we dive into the events that led up to this tragedy, let’s remind ourselves of a bit of Gucci history, as it’s in this history that we may find some clues about this shocking murder.

[00:03:05] Maurizio Gucci’s grandfather, Guccio Gucci, was born in Florence in 1881 and caught his first glimpses of luxury working at the Savoy Hotel in London as a teenager.

[00:03:19] Inspired by the well-to-do guests, and particularly their luggage, Guccio began making travel bags and accessories. Eventually, in 1921 he opened a luxury leather shop in Florence called House of Gucci.

[00:03:37] The brand quickly gained momentum, garnering attention from the global elite, leading to the opening of a second store on one of Rome’s luxury shopping streets in 1938.

[00:03:50] That same year, Guccio brought on three of his sons, Aldo, Vasco and Rodolfo, to help him run the business and continue its expansion over the next few decades.

[00:04:02] In 1953, a Gucci boutique was even opened in New the first company store located outside of Europe. Just two weeks later however, the founder, Guccio Gucci, died, aged 72, leaving his three sons to run the business.

[00:04:20] As you might imagine, Guccio Gucci’s grandson, Maurizio Gucci, was no stranger to wealth and high society. But, despite his family’s great power and status, he was a notoriously shy and awkward young man. 

[00:04:37] His mother died when he was just five, and so his father, Rodolfo, was quite overprotective of his son. He was also rather overbearing, and the young boy grew used to doing as his father told him.

[00:04:52] That was until 1970, when, at 22 years old, he met a lively and charismatic woman named Patrizia Reggiani.

[00:05:02] At that time, Reggiani was known in the elite Milan social circles as a popular, wealthy socialite with a luxurious lifestyle.

[00:05:11] But it hadn’t always been that way. Unlike Maurizio, Patrizia was born poor to a single mother and had never known her biological father.

[00:05:23] However, when she was twelve, her mother married a rich trucking entrepreneur who would later adopt Patrizia. 

[00:05:32] And this new father spoiled her, buying her fur coats, fast cars, fine jewellery and whatever else she desired. She began to develop a taste for fine things that would ultimately consume her.

[00:05:48] Still, the trucking business did not lend itself to the same glamorous lifestyle as fashion moguls such as the Guccis, and Patrizia had to work her way into the same elite social circles as Maurizio.

[00:06:03] Their encounter in 1970 kicked off a whirlwind romance. They fell in love quickly, and Maurizio even proposed to her on their second date.

[00:06:15] But there was just one problem. Rodolfo, Maurizio’s father, he did not approve of the couple.

[00:06:22] He saw Patrizia’s background as a red flag, a warning sign that she was only interested in his son for his money and status.

[00:06:33] But young Maurizio was head over heels for Patrizia, and his father had to resort to more extreme measures to break the pair up.

[00:06:43] He disinherited his son, cutting Maurizio off from the family company and money. But this still did not work.

[00:06:52] As the wedding drew closer, Rodolfo Gucci even asked the cardinal of Milan to put a stop to it. 

[00:06:59] It was no use and the couple married in 1972 with no members of the Gucci family in attendance.

[00:07:07] But luck was about to turn for the new Mr and Mrs Gucci.

[00:07:13] A year before their marriage, Maurizio’s uncle Aldo had hinted that he wanted to start training up a younger member of the family to take over the business, rather than his own much older sons.

[00:07:26] Aldo was responsible for running Gucci in America, and he was instrumental in helping turn the business into an international powerhouse.

[00:07:37] Maurizio wouldn’t have to wait for long to re-enter the family business. In the same year as his wedding, Aldo invited him to New York to begin working for Gucci again.

[00:07:47] And life was good for the couple for a while.

[00:07:51] Professionally, business was booming, and Maurizio and Patrizia had become quite the pair. She was his right-hand woman, advising him on various Gucci business matters.

[00:08:03] The couple owned several properties, including the luxury New York penthouse that they lived in. Patrizia collected fine jewellery and Maurizio bought what was, at the time, the world’s largest wooden sailing boat.

[00:08:19] And they flaunted this wealth about town, driving around in a chauffeured car and entrenching themselves in New York’s social scene.

[00:08:29] They even reunited with Rodolfo Gucci, Maurizio’s father, after the birth of their first child in 1976.

[00:08:38] The reunion wouldn't last for long as just six years later, Rodolfo Gucci was dead. 

[00:08:45] Upon his father’s death, Maurizio inherited his father’s Gucci shares, making him the majority shareholder of the iconic fashion house.

[00:08:54] And he wasn’t going to be a silent shareholder, either. While his father and uncle had always wanted to preserve Gucci as a family business, Maurizio had other plans. 

[00:09:06] He didn’t like the direction the company had been heading. What he saw to be excessive franchising and mass production of products had degraded the brand’s name in his eyes.

[00:09:18] He wanted to bring exclusivity back to Gucci, even if he had to take his own family down in the process.

[00:09:27] His plan was to replace his uncle as Gucci’s president, its boss. To do this, he enlisted the help of his cousin, Paolo, Aldo’s son. 

[00:09:38] Paolo had once been vice president of Gucci after years as chief designer. He is even credited as one of the minds behind the famous double G logo.

[00:09:50] However, he felt like his voice was not being heard enough.

[00:09:55] So, in 1980, he had gone behind his father’s back and opened his own, independent fashion line called Gucci Plus.

[00:10:04] When he found out, Aldo was furious. Not only did he fire his son, but he sued him for infringing Gucci trademarks and cut him off from its suppliers.

[00:10:17] Paolo wanted to seek revenge, and so the cousins made a deal. Paolo agreed to help vote Aldo off Gucci’s Board of Directors and in return, Maurizio would let Paolo independently lead some design work in the company.

[00:10:35] And the plan worked. Maurizio was able to take Aldo’s place as president.

[00:10:41] However, just as his professional life took off, his personal one was beginning to crumble, or at least, change.

[00:10:50] Despite their differences, just before his death, Rodolfo Gucci had warned Patrizia, his daughter in law, that Maurizio would change once he gained more power. “You will find you are married to another man,” he told her.

[00:11:05] And his prediction came true. 

[00:11:08] Once he became president, Maurizio began spending less and less time with his family and started to cut Patrizia out of the day-to-day running of the Gucci business. She was no longer able to steer the company in her own direction.

[00:11:24] And it wasn’t just a lust for power that was driving Maurizio away.

[00:11:29] After buying his extraordinarily large sailing boat, he took a keen interest in sailing, sponsoring races and teams all over the world. And while Patrizia did not share this passion, he soon found someone who did. 

[00:11:45] He met an American model called Sheree Loud at a sailing event in 1984. Despite both being married to other people, Maurizio avidly pursued her and the two began an affair that same year.

[00:12:00] They travelled together to sailing events across the world and Sheree helped him to renovate his boat. They seemed to have much more in common than Maurizio and Patrizia.

[00:12:11] And so, in March of 1985, Maurizio packed his bags and left his family home.

[00:12:18] At first, he told his wife that he was simply going on a business trip. But, the next day, he sent a mutual friend to tell her that he would not be returning at all.

[00:12:30] This, of course, greatly angered Patrizia.

[00:12:33] Not only did he not have the courage to tell her in person, but he also wanted her to keep up appearances and, in public, pretend that they were still happily married.

[00:12:45] The couple had not yet officially divorced, so Patrizia did as Maurizio asked, perhaps in the hopes of winning him back.

[00:12:54] Maurizio, meanwhile, was only able to enjoy his new life as the president of Gucci and free from his controlling wife for a short time.

[00:13:04] Aldo, his uncle, felt publicly humiliated by his exile from Gucci. His nephew had removed many aspects of the company that were considered his legacy.

[00:13:16] Paolo also was unhappy with his cousin, Maurizio. He had never followed through with his promise to give him the creative freedom he had agreed to.

[00:13:26] So Aldo and Paolo teamed up and together they claimed that Maurizio, in order to avoid inheritance tax, had forged his father’s signature on forms transferring him his late father’s shares.

[00:13:42] And when they reported this to the authorities, Maurizio was charged with the crime.

[00:13:47] Luckily for him, he managed to avoid prison. In an almost James Bond-like fashion, as police were coming to arrest him he received a warning from his lawyer and quickly jumped on a motorbike, fleeing to Switzerland.

[00:14:02] This is where he would stay for several years until he was acquitted, essentially found not guilty.

[00:14:10] During this time, he was stripped of the Gucci presidency. 

[00:14:13] But, he still owned half of the company.

[00:14:16] Once again, he had to hatch a plan to, form a plan to regain control. And this time, he would leave no room for retaliation.

[00:14:27] So, in 1988, with the help of an investment bank called Investcorp, he began to buy out the rest of his family, meaning that they would no longer own shares in Gucci.

[00:14:40] The first target was Paolo. Still struggling to set up his own fashion label, he could use the money he got from selling his shares to fund this venture. And so he sold them to Investcorp.

[00:14:53] After this, Maurizio persuaded more of his cousins to sell their shares, all won over by the large cash amounts they would receive.

[00:15:03] Feeling betrayed by his own sons, and being the last one to hold onto his shares, Aldo eventually sold too. But it wasn’t easy for him; he told Maurizio it was like selling his own soul.

[00:15:17] So by 1989, Maurizio was not only in full control of Gucci again, but he was the last of his family left in the company and free to make all the changes wanted.

[00:15:30] He closed many Gucci stores, ended franchises, and reduced the number of products that Gucci produced. He also brought in new designers and executives to give Gucci a fresh look.

[00:15:44] Unfortunately, that same year Maurizio and Sheree Loud’s relationship came to an end.

[00:15:50] But it didn’t take too long for Maurizio to find romance again.

[00:15:54] Just a year later, in 1990, he started dating interior designer Paola Franchi. Franchi had been a friend of Maurizio and Patrizia’s, and had even gone to their wedding.

[00:16:06] Patrizia was enraged, she was livid

[00:16:10] Meanwhile, at Gucci, things weren’t going so well.

[00:16:15] Maurizio was a reckless spender, both personally and professionally. His restructuring of the company had been expensive, and he’d spent money on trivial things such as lavish new offices.

[00:16:30] This ate away at Gucci’s bottom line, and the finances were in the red. Investcorp no longer trusted Maurizio to run the company, and they wanted to buy him out too.

[00:16:43] Maurizio had also been taking out bank loans to help fund his extravagant personal life. But with no way to pay back these loans, the banks also threatened to seize his shares.

[00:16:57] But Maurizio was not about to give up his ownership of Gucci that easily, so he decided to take out yet another loan.

[00:17:06] This time it was with a man called Delfo Zorzi, a suspected terrorist living in Japan. In exchange for tens of millions of euros, Maurizio promised Zorzi the rights to sell Gucci in Asia. 

[00:17:21] Unfortunately for him, no amount of loans or dodgy dealings could save him, and in 1993 he finally sold his half of Gucci to Investcorp.

[00:17:32] This marked the end of the Gucci family’s involvement with the Gucci fashion house.

[00:17:38] Supposedly, this final exchange deeply angered Patrizia, his ex-wife. Perhaps she felt betrayed, as she’d always felt like a Gucci, or perhaps it was because she would never again be able to have influence in the company.

[00:17:55] But things were only going to get worse for Patrizia when, in 1994, Maurizio finally officially divorced her.

[00:18:05] In the settlement, Patrizia received property, a lump sum of millions of euros and a yearly allowance of hundreds of thousands of euros. 

[00:18:14] But to her, this was a “mere bowl of lentils”. She wanted more.

[00:18:20] Worse still, she was legally prohibited from using the Gucci name, although she never actually stopped referring to herself as a Gucci.

[00:18:29] And these issues were just the start. Maurizio, still not having learned his lesson, continued to burn through the money he’d received from selling his shares, spending lavishly and renovating his apartment with his new lover according to his expensive tastes.

[00:18:47] What’s more, rumour had it that Maurizio wanted to marry Paola. 

[00:18:52] This threatened to reduce the payments Patrizia received from him. Plus, in her eyes, there was only room for one Mrs Gucci.

[00:19:01] But the pair never did marry, as in 1995 Maurizio Gucci was dead, lying in a pool of blood In front of his office.

[00:19:11] And this brings us back to the start of this episode.

[00:19:15] Who killed Maurizio Gucci?

[00:19:18] The first place the police looked was inside the Gucci family. With all the in-fighting and battles for control, could Maurizio have been murdered in revenge?

[00:19:29] Paolo was an obvious suspect. After selling his shares, he had continued legal battles with Maurizio over the rights to design clothes using the Gucci name.

[00:19:40] But there was no evidence linking Paolo to the crime.

[00:19:44] Next, they looked at Zorzi, the suspected criminal with whom Maurizio had taken out a loan. But they soon received evidence that he had paid off this loan in full, so there was no motive there.

[00:19:58] Luckily, the police received a very interesting tip-off.

[00:20:02] The concierge of a Milan hotel had bragged to a customer that he’d been paid to help organise a hitman to kill Maurizio Gucci.

[00:20:12] And who had paid him? 

[00:20:14] If you didn’t know, perhaps you’d guessed it.

[00:20:17] It was Patrizia, Maurizio Gucci’s ex-wife.

[00:20:20] And the more the police investigated Patrizia, the more guilty she seemed. She had not exactly kept it a secret that she despised her ex-husband.

[00:20:30] After their divorce, she had left him threatening messages, in one even saying, “For you, it is hell to come.”

[00:20:38] And even less subtly, she had asked just about everyone she knew whether they could help her dispose of her ex-husband, even talking about it with her divorce lawyer.

[00:20:49] Her behaviour after his death was suspicious, too. On the day he died, she had written just one word in her diary: paradise.

[00:20:59] And, just three hours after he died, she had drawn up a notice to evict Paola, to kick Paola out from the apartment she had shared with Maurizio. She seemed too prepared for her ex-husband's death, almost as if she had known it would happen.

[00:21:18] The final, damning piece of evidence came after the police wire-tapped the hotel concierge’s car. 

[00:21:25] They caught members of the group who had helped plan and carry out the murder talking about their payment from Patrizia. They were unhappy with the amount she had paid them and were beginning to hatch a plan to extort more out of her.

[00:21:40] But before anything could come of it, the police turned up at Patrizia’s doorstep on the morning of the 31st of January 1997. They were there to arrest her.

[00:21:51] Seemingly calm and unsurprised by this, Patrizia had just one thing she wanted to do before she was taken to prison. She had to go and put on a fur coat and fine jewellery.

[00:22:04] At her trial, she maintained her innocence. But, with 43 boxes of evidence presented against her, she was quickly found guilty and sentenced to 29 years for arranging an assassination.

[00:22:19] In 2011, she actually got an early chance at freedom through what's called a work-release programme, meaning you can get out of prison if you get a job.

[00:22:29] However, she turned this opportunity down, saying that she had never worked a day in her life and she sure as hell wasn’t going to start now. Five years later she was finally released after serving 18 years. 

[00:22:43] Despite her previous comments about never having had a job, she has even expressed an interest in working for Gucci again because, according to her, she is “the most Gucci of them all.”

[00:22:58] OK then, that is it for today's episode on the murder of Maurizio Gucci. 

[00:23:04] I hope it's been an interesting one, and that you've learnt something new.

[00:23:07] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode.

[00:23:11] Do you think that Patrizia’s sentence was too lenient, and she would have been given a longer sentence if she wasn’t so wealthy?

[00:23:18] Do you think that it was the money that corrupted the Gucci family, or was there something deeper?

[00:23:23] I would love to know, so let’s get this discussion started.

[00:23:27] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:23:35] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:23:40] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]

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[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:00:11] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge, and today we are going to be talking about the murder of Maurizio Gucci.

[00:00:28] It’s a story of high fashion, of luxury, of love, rivalries, jealousy, betrayal, warring families, and murder.

[00:00:38] So, let’s not waste a minute and dive right into it.

[00:00:43] On 27th of March 1995, Giuseppe Onorato was working as usual at the stylish office building in which he was a doorman.

[00:00:54] The offices were just a stone’s throw away from Milan’s fashion district, an affluent and trendy area, and not the usual type of setting for the events that would unfold that morning.

[00:01:08] Arriving for work was Maurizio Gucci. Once Gucci’s president, he was now working on his own business from the type of lavish offices he had grown used to.

[00:01:20] As the Italian businessman climbed the front steps, Giuseppe Onorato, the doorman, watched another man get out of a nearby car and walk towards the entrance of the building. 

[00:01:34] Gucci greeted his loyal doorman, who saw the third man drawing a gun.

[00:01:41] There were four shots, at first. Three of these landed in Gucci’s body. The fourth and final shot was to the head.

[00:01:51] But the gunman wasn’t done. He then turned his attention to the shooting's only witness: Giuseppe Onorato, the doorman

[00:02:00] By the time the police arrived, the doorman was sitting in a pool of blood. He had been hit twice in the arm before the gunman had panicked and fled.

[00:02:11] Onorato was injured, but alive. However, it wasn’t just his own blood he was covered in. 

[00:02:19] He was cradling the lifeless body of Maurizio Gucci. The grandson of the man who had founded one of the biggest brands in fashion was dead.

[00:02:30] For many, the murder of a rich and famous businessman in a city like Milan was unheard of. For others, it came as less of a shock; Gucci had many enemies.

[00:02:43] But despite various leads, or suspects, the case would remain unsolved for two years.

[00:02:50] Before we dive into the events that led up to this tragedy, let’s remind ourselves of a bit of Gucci history, as it’s in this history that we may find some clues about this shocking murder.

[00:03:05] Maurizio Gucci’s grandfather, Guccio Gucci, was born in Florence in 1881 and caught his first glimpses of luxury working at the Savoy Hotel in London as a teenager.

[00:03:19] Inspired by the well-to-do guests, and particularly their luggage, Guccio began making travel bags and accessories. Eventually, in 1921 he opened a luxury leather shop in Florence called House of Gucci.

[00:03:37] The brand quickly gained momentum, garnering attention from the global elite, leading to the opening of a second store on one of Rome’s luxury shopping streets in 1938.

[00:03:50] That same year, Guccio brought on three of his sons, Aldo, Vasco and Rodolfo, to help him run the business and continue its expansion over the next few decades.

[00:04:02] In 1953, a Gucci boutique was even opened in New the first company store located outside of Europe. Just two weeks later however, the founder, Guccio Gucci, died, aged 72, leaving his three sons to run the business.

[00:04:20] As you might imagine, Guccio Gucci’s grandson, Maurizio Gucci, was no stranger to wealth and high society. But, despite his family’s great power and status, he was a notoriously shy and awkward young man. 

[00:04:37] His mother died when he was just five, and so his father, Rodolfo, was quite overprotective of his son. He was also rather overbearing, and the young boy grew used to doing as his father told him.

[00:04:52] That was until 1970, when, at 22 years old, he met a lively and charismatic woman named Patrizia Reggiani.

[00:05:02] At that time, Reggiani was known in the elite Milan social circles as a popular, wealthy socialite with a luxurious lifestyle.

[00:05:11] But it hadn’t always been that way. Unlike Maurizio, Patrizia was born poor to a single mother and had never known her biological father.

[00:05:23] However, when she was twelve, her mother married a rich trucking entrepreneur who would later adopt Patrizia. 

[00:05:32] And this new father spoiled her, buying her fur coats, fast cars, fine jewellery and whatever else she desired. She began to develop a taste for fine things that would ultimately consume her.

[00:05:48] Still, the trucking business did not lend itself to the same glamorous lifestyle as fashion moguls such as the Guccis, and Patrizia had to work her way into the same elite social circles as Maurizio.

[00:06:03] Their encounter in 1970 kicked off a whirlwind romance. They fell in love quickly, and Maurizio even proposed to her on their second date.

[00:06:15] But there was just one problem. Rodolfo, Maurizio’s father, he did not approve of the couple.

[00:06:22] He saw Patrizia’s background as a red flag, a warning sign that she was only interested in his son for his money and status.

[00:06:33] But young Maurizio was head over heels for Patrizia, and his father had to resort to more extreme measures to break the pair up.

[00:06:43] He disinherited his son, cutting Maurizio off from the family company and money. But this still did not work.

[00:06:52] As the wedding drew closer, Rodolfo Gucci even asked the cardinal of Milan to put a stop to it. 

[00:06:59] It was no use and the couple married in 1972 with no members of the Gucci family in attendance.

[00:07:07] But luck was about to turn for the new Mr and Mrs Gucci.

[00:07:13] A year before their marriage, Maurizio’s uncle Aldo had hinted that he wanted to start training up a younger member of the family to take over the business, rather than his own much older sons.

[00:07:26] Aldo was responsible for running Gucci in America, and he was instrumental in helping turn the business into an international powerhouse.

[00:07:37] Maurizio wouldn’t have to wait for long to re-enter the family business. In the same year as his wedding, Aldo invited him to New York to begin working for Gucci again.

[00:07:47] And life was good for the couple for a while.

[00:07:51] Professionally, business was booming, and Maurizio and Patrizia had become quite the pair. She was his right-hand woman, advising him on various Gucci business matters.

[00:08:03] The couple owned several properties, including the luxury New York penthouse that they lived in. Patrizia collected fine jewellery and Maurizio bought what was, at the time, the world’s largest wooden sailing boat.

[00:08:19] And they flaunted this wealth about town, driving around in a chauffeured car and entrenching themselves in New York’s social scene.

[00:08:29] They even reunited with Rodolfo Gucci, Maurizio’s father, after the birth of their first child in 1976.

[00:08:38] The reunion wouldn't last for long as just six years later, Rodolfo Gucci was dead. 

[00:08:45] Upon his father’s death, Maurizio inherited his father’s Gucci shares, making him the majority shareholder of the iconic fashion house.

[00:08:54] And he wasn’t going to be a silent shareholder, either. While his father and uncle had always wanted to preserve Gucci as a family business, Maurizio had other plans. 

[00:09:06] He didn’t like the direction the company had been heading. What he saw to be excessive franchising and mass production of products had degraded the brand’s name in his eyes.

[00:09:18] He wanted to bring exclusivity back to Gucci, even if he had to take his own family down in the process.

[00:09:27] His plan was to replace his uncle as Gucci’s president, its boss. To do this, he enlisted the help of his cousin, Paolo, Aldo’s son. 

[00:09:38] Paolo had once been vice president of Gucci after years as chief designer. He is even credited as one of the minds behind the famous double G logo.

[00:09:50] However, he felt like his voice was not being heard enough.

[00:09:55] So, in 1980, he had gone behind his father’s back and opened his own, independent fashion line called Gucci Plus.

[00:10:04] When he found out, Aldo was furious. Not only did he fire his son, but he sued him for infringing Gucci trademarks and cut him off from its suppliers.

[00:10:17] Paolo wanted to seek revenge, and so the cousins made a deal. Paolo agreed to help vote Aldo off Gucci’s Board of Directors and in return, Maurizio would let Paolo independently lead some design work in the company.

[00:10:35] And the plan worked. Maurizio was able to take Aldo’s place as president.

[00:10:41] However, just as his professional life took off, his personal one was beginning to crumble, or at least, change.

[00:10:50] Despite their differences, just before his death, Rodolfo Gucci had warned Patrizia, his daughter in law, that Maurizio would change once he gained more power. “You will find you are married to another man,” he told her.

[00:11:05] And his prediction came true. 

[00:11:08] Once he became president, Maurizio began spending less and less time with his family and started to cut Patrizia out of the day-to-day running of the Gucci business. She was no longer able to steer the company in her own direction.

[00:11:24] And it wasn’t just a lust for power that was driving Maurizio away.

[00:11:29] After buying his extraordinarily large sailing boat, he took a keen interest in sailing, sponsoring races and teams all over the world. And while Patrizia did not share this passion, he soon found someone who did. 

[00:11:45] He met an American model called Sheree Loud at a sailing event in 1984. Despite both being married to other people, Maurizio avidly pursued her and the two began an affair that same year.

[00:12:00] They travelled together to sailing events across the world and Sheree helped him to renovate his boat. They seemed to have much more in common than Maurizio and Patrizia.

[00:12:11] And so, in March of 1985, Maurizio packed his bags and left his family home.

[00:12:18] At first, he told his wife that he was simply going on a business trip. But, the next day, he sent a mutual friend to tell her that he would not be returning at all.

[00:12:30] This, of course, greatly angered Patrizia.

[00:12:33] Not only did he not have the courage to tell her in person, but he also wanted her to keep up appearances and, in public, pretend that they were still happily married.

[00:12:45] The couple had not yet officially divorced, so Patrizia did as Maurizio asked, perhaps in the hopes of winning him back.

[00:12:54] Maurizio, meanwhile, was only able to enjoy his new life as the president of Gucci and free from his controlling wife for a short time.

[00:13:04] Aldo, his uncle, felt publicly humiliated by his exile from Gucci. His nephew had removed many aspects of the company that were considered his legacy.

[00:13:16] Paolo also was unhappy with his cousin, Maurizio. He had never followed through with his promise to give him the creative freedom he had agreed to.

[00:13:26] So Aldo and Paolo teamed up and together they claimed that Maurizio, in order to avoid inheritance tax, had forged his father’s signature on forms transferring him his late father’s shares.

[00:13:42] And when they reported this to the authorities, Maurizio was charged with the crime.

[00:13:47] Luckily for him, he managed to avoid prison. In an almost James Bond-like fashion, as police were coming to arrest him he received a warning from his lawyer and quickly jumped on a motorbike, fleeing to Switzerland.

[00:14:02] This is where he would stay for several years until he was acquitted, essentially found not guilty.

[00:14:10] During this time, he was stripped of the Gucci presidency. 

[00:14:13] But, he still owned half of the company.

[00:14:16] Once again, he had to hatch a plan to, form a plan to regain control. And this time, he would leave no room for retaliation.

[00:14:27] So, in 1988, with the help of an investment bank called Investcorp, he began to buy out the rest of his family, meaning that they would no longer own shares in Gucci.

[00:14:40] The first target was Paolo. Still struggling to set up his own fashion label, he could use the money he got from selling his shares to fund this venture. And so he sold them to Investcorp.

[00:14:53] After this, Maurizio persuaded more of his cousins to sell their shares, all won over by the large cash amounts they would receive.

[00:15:03] Feeling betrayed by his own sons, and being the last one to hold onto his shares, Aldo eventually sold too. But it wasn’t easy for him; he told Maurizio it was like selling his own soul.

[00:15:17] So by 1989, Maurizio was not only in full control of Gucci again, but he was the last of his family left in the company and free to make all the changes wanted.

[00:15:30] He closed many Gucci stores, ended franchises, and reduced the number of products that Gucci produced. He also brought in new designers and executives to give Gucci a fresh look.

[00:15:44] Unfortunately, that same year Maurizio and Sheree Loud’s relationship came to an end.

[00:15:50] But it didn’t take too long for Maurizio to find romance again.

[00:15:54] Just a year later, in 1990, he started dating interior designer Paola Franchi. Franchi had been a friend of Maurizio and Patrizia’s, and had even gone to their wedding.

[00:16:06] Patrizia was enraged, she was livid

[00:16:10] Meanwhile, at Gucci, things weren’t going so well.

[00:16:15] Maurizio was a reckless spender, both personally and professionally. His restructuring of the company had been expensive, and he’d spent money on trivial things such as lavish new offices.

[00:16:30] This ate away at Gucci’s bottom line, and the finances were in the red. Investcorp no longer trusted Maurizio to run the company, and they wanted to buy him out too.

[00:16:43] Maurizio had also been taking out bank loans to help fund his extravagant personal life. But with no way to pay back these loans, the banks also threatened to seize his shares.

[00:16:57] But Maurizio was not about to give up his ownership of Gucci that easily, so he decided to take out yet another loan.

[00:17:06] This time it was with a man called Delfo Zorzi, a suspected terrorist living in Japan. In exchange for tens of millions of euros, Maurizio promised Zorzi the rights to sell Gucci in Asia. 

[00:17:21] Unfortunately for him, no amount of loans or dodgy dealings could save him, and in 1993 he finally sold his half of Gucci to Investcorp.

[00:17:32] This marked the end of the Gucci family’s involvement with the Gucci fashion house.

[00:17:38] Supposedly, this final exchange deeply angered Patrizia, his ex-wife. Perhaps she felt betrayed, as she’d always felt like a Gucci, or perhaps it was because she would never again be able to have influence in the company.

[00:17:55] But things were only going to get worse for Patrizia when, in 1994, Maurizio finally officially divorced her.

[00:18:05] In the settlement, Patrizia received property, a lump sum of millions of euros and a yearly allowance of hundreds of thousands of euros. 

[00:18:14] But to her, this was a “mere bowl of lentils”. She wanted more.

[00:18:20] Worse still, she was legally prohibited from using the Gucci name, although she never actually stopped referring to herself as a Gucci.

[00:18:29] And these issues were just the start. Maurizio, still not having learned his lesson, continued to burn through the money he’d received from selling his shares, spending lavishly and renovating his apartment with his new lover according to his expensive tastes.

[00:18:47] What’s more, rumour had it that Maurizio wanted to marry Paola. 

[00:18:52] This threatened to reduce the payments Patrizia received from him. Plus, in her eyes, there was only room for one Mrs Gucci.

[00:19:01] But the pair never did marry, as in 1995 Maurizio Gucci was dead, lying in a pool of blood In front of his office.

[00:19:11] And this brings us back to the start of this episode.

[00:19:15] Who killed Maurizio Gucci?

[00:19:18] The first place the police looked was inside the Gucci family. With all the in-fighting and battles for control, could Maurizio have been murdered in revenge?

[00:19:29] Paolo was an obvious suspect. After selling his shares, he had continued legal battles with Maurizio over the rights to design clothes using the Gucci name.

[00:19:40] But there was no evidence linking Paolo to the crime.

[00:19:44] Next, they looked at Zorzi, the suspected criminal with whom Maurizio had taken out a loan. But they soon received evidence that he had paid off this loan in full, so there was no motive there.

[00:19:58] Luckily, the police received a very interesting tip-off.

[00:20:02] The concierge of a Milan hotel had bragged to a customer that he’d been paid to help organise a hitman to kill Maurizio Gucci.

[00:20:12] And who had paid him? 

[00:20:14] If you didn’t know, perhaps you’d guessed it.

[00:20:17] It was Patrizia, Maurizio Gucci’s ex-wife.

[00:20:20] And the more the police investigated Patrizia, the more guilty she seemed. She had not exactly kept it a secret that she despised her ex-husband.

[00:20:30] After their divorce, she had left him threatening messages, in one even saying, “For you, it is hell to come.”

[00:20:38] And even less subtly, she had asked just about everyone she knew whether they could help her dispose of her ex-husband, even talking about it with her divorce lawyer.

[00:20:49] Her behaviour after his death was suspicious, too. On the day he died, she had written just one word in her diary: paradise.

[00:20:59] And, just three hours after he died, she had drawn up a notice to evict Paola, to kick Paola out from the apartment she had shared with Maurizio. She seemed too prepared for her ex-husband's death, almost as if she had known it would happen.

[00:21:18] The final, damning piece of evidence came after the police wire-tapped the hotel concierge’s car. 

[00:21:25] They caught members of the group who had helped plan and carry out the murder talking about their payment from Patrizia. They were unhappy with the amount she had paid them and were beginning to hatch a plan to extort more out of her.

[00:21:40] But before anything could come of it, the police turned up at Patrizia’s doorstep on the morning of the 31st of January 1997. They were there to arrest her.

[00:21:51] Seemingly calm and unsurprised by this, Patrizia had just one thing she wanted to do before she was taken to prison. She had to go and put on a fur coat and fine jewellery.

[00:22:04] At her trial, she maintained her innocence. But, with 43 boxes of evidence presented against her, she was quickly found guilty and sentenced to 29 years for arranging an assassination.

[00:22:19] In 2011, she actually got an early chance at freedom through what's called a work-release programme, meaning you can get out of prison if you get a job.

[00:22:29] However, she turned this opportunity down, saying that she had never worked a day in her life and she sure as hell wasn’t going to start now. Five years later she was finally released after serving 18 years. 

[00:22:43] Despite her previous comments about never having had a job, she has even expressed an interest in working for Gucci again because, according to her, she is “the most Gucci of them all.”

[00:22:58] OK then, that is it for today's episode on the murder of Maurizio Gucci. 

[00:23:04] I hope it's been an interesting one, and that you've learnt something new.

[00:23:07] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode.

[00:23:11] Do you think that Patrizia’s sentence was too lenient, and she would have been given a longer sentence if she wasn’t so wealthy?

[00:23:18] Do you think that it was the money that corrupted the Gucci family, or was there something deeper?

[00:23:23] I would love to know, so let’s get this discussion started.

[00:23:27] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:23:35] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:23:40] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]

[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:00:11] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge, and today we are going to be talking about the murder of Maurizio Gucci.

[00:00:28] It’s a story of high fashion, of luxury, of love, rivalries, jealousy, betrayal, warring families, and murder.

[00:00:38] So, let’s not waste a minute and dive right into it.

[00:00:43] On 27th of March 1995, Giuseppe Onorato was working as usual at the stylish office building in which he was a doorman.

[00:00:54] The offices were just a stone’s throw away from Milan’s fashion district, an affluent and trendy area, and not the usual type of setting for the events that would unfold that morning.

[00:01:08] Arriving for work was Maurizio Gucci. Once Gucci’s president, he was now working on his own business from the type of lavish offices he had grown used to.

[00:01:20] As the Italian businessman climbed the front steps, Giuseppe Onorato, the doorman, watched another man get out of a nearby car and walk towards the entrance of the building. 

[00:01:34] Gucci greeted his loyal doorman, who saw the third man drawing a gun.

[00:01:41] There were four shots, at first. Three of these landed in Gucci’s body. The fourth and final shot was to the head.

[00:01:51] But the gunman wasn’t done. He then turned his attention to the shooting's only witness: Giuseppe Onorato, the doorman

[00:02:00] By the time the police arrived, the doorman was sitting in a pool of blood. He had been hit twice in the arm before the gunman had panicked and fled.

[00:02:11] Onorato was injured, but alive. However, it wasn’t just his own blood he was covered in. 

[00:02:19] He was cradling the lifeless body of Maurizio Gucci. The grandson of the man who had founded one of the biggest brands in fashion was dead.

[00:02:30] For many, the murder of a rich and famous businessman in a city like Milan was unheard of. For others, it came as less of a shock; Gucci had many enemies.

[00:02:43] But despite various leads, or suspects, the case would remain unsolved for two years.

[00:02:50] Before we dive into the events that led up to this tragedy, let’s remind ourselves of a bit of Gucci history, as it’s in this history that we may find some clues about this shocking murder.

[00:03:05] Maurizio Gucci’s grandfather, Guccio Gucci, was born in Florence in 1881 and caught his first glimpses of luxury working at the Savoy Hotel in London as a teenager.

[00:03:19] Inspired by the well-to-do guests, and particularly their luggage, Guccio began making travel bags and accessories. Eventually, in 1921 he opened a luxury leather shop in Florence called House of Gucci.

[00:03:37] The brand quickly gained momentum, garnering attention from the global elite, leading to the opening of a second store on one of Rome’s luxury shopping streets in 1938.

[00:03:50] That same year, Guccio brought on three of his sons, Aldo, Vasco and Rodolfo, to help him run the business and continue its expansion over the next few decades.

[00:04:02] In 1953, a Gucci boutique was even opened in New the first company store located outside of Europe. Just two weeks later however, the founder, Guccio Gucci, died, aged 72, leaving his three sons to run the business.

[00:04:20] As you might imagine, Guccio Gucci’s grandson, Maurizio Gucci, was no stranger to wealth and high society. But, despite his family’s great power and status, he was a notoriously shy and awkward young man. 

[00:04:37] His mother died when he was just five, and so his father, Rodolfo, was quite overprotective of his son. He was also rather overbearing, and the young boy grew used to doing as his father told him.

[00:04:52] That was until 1970, when, at 22 years old, he met a lively and charismatic woman named Patrizia Reggiani.

[00:05:02] At that time, Reggiani was known in the elite Milan social circles as a popular, wealthy socialite with a luxurious lifestyle.

[00:05:11] But it hadn’t always been that way. Unlike Maurizio, Patrizia was born poor to a single mother and had never known her biological father.

[00:05:23] However, when she was twelve, her mother married a rich trucking entrepreneur who would later adopt Patrizia. 

[00:05:32] And this new father spoiled her, buying her fur coats, fast cars, fine jewellery and whatever else she desired. She began to develop a taste for fine things that would ultimately consume her.

[00:05:48] Still, the trucking business did not lend itself to the same glamorous lifestyle as fashion moguls such as the Guccis, and Patrizia had to work her way into the same elite social circles as Maurizio.

[00:06:03] Their encounter in 1970 kicked off a whirlwind romance. They fell in love quickly, and Maurizio even proposed to her on their second date.

[00:06:15] But there was just one problem. Rodolfo, Maurizio’s father, he did not approve of the couple.

[00:06:22] He saw Patrizia’s background as a red flag, a warning sign that she was only interested in his son for his money and status.

[00:06:33] But young Maurizio was head over heels for Patrizia, and his father had to resort to more extreme measures to break the pair up.

[00:06:43] He disinherited his son, cutting Maurizio off from the family company and money. But this still did not work.

[00:06:52] As the wedding drew closer, Rodolfo Gucci even asked the cardinal of Milan to put a stop to it. 

[00:06:59] It was no use and the couple married in 1972 with no members of the Gucci family in attendance.

[00:07:07] But luck was about to turn for the new Mr and Mrs Gucci.

[00:07:13] A year before their marriage, Maurizio’s uncle Aldo had hinted that he wanted to start training up a younger member of the family to take over the business, rather than his own much older sons.

[00:07:26] Aldo was responsible for running Gucci in America, and he was instrumental in helping turn the business into an international powerhouse.

[00:07:37] Maurizio wouldn’t have to wait for long to re-enter the family business. In the same year as his wedding, Aldo invited him to New York to begin working for Gucci again.

[00:07:47] And life was good for the couple for a while.

[00:07:51] Professionally, business was booming, and Maurizio and Patrizia had become quite the pair. She was his right-hand woman, advising him on various Gucci business matters.

[00:08:03] The couple owned several properties, including the luxury New York penthouse that they lived in. Patrizia collected fine jewellery and Maurizio bought what was, at the time, the world’s largest wooden sailing boat.

[00:08:19] And they flaunted this wealth about town, driving around in a chauffeured car and entrenching themselves in New York’s social scene.

[00:08:29] They even reunited with Rodolfo Gucci, Maurizio’s father, after the birth of their first child in 1976.

[00:08:38] The reunion wouldn't last for long as just six years later, Rodolfo Gucci was dead. 

[00:08:45] Upon his father’s death, Maurizio inherited his father’s Gucci shares, making him the majority shareholder of the iconic fashion house.

[00:08:54] And he wasn’t going to be a silent shareholder, either. While his father and uncle had always wanted to preserve Gucci as a family business, Maurizio had other plans. 

[00:09:06] He didn’t like the direction the company had been heading. What he saw to be excessive franchising and mass production of products had degraded the brand’s name in his eyes.

[00:09:18] He wanted to bring exclusivity back to Gucci, even if he had to take his own family down in the process.

[00:09:27] His plan was to replace his uncle as Gucci’s president, its boss. To do this, he enlisted the help of his cousin, Paolo, Aldo’s son. 

[00:09:38] Paolo had once been vice president of Gucci after years as chief designer. He is even credited as one of the minds behind the famous double G logo.

[00:09:50] However, he felt like his voice was not being heard enough.

[00:09:55] So, in 1980, he had gone behind his father’s back and opened his own, independent fashion line called Gucci Plus.

[00:10:04] When he found out, Aldo was furious. Not only did he fire his son, but he sued him for infringing Gucci trademarks and cut him off from its suppliers.

[00:10:17] Paolo wanted to seek revenge, and so the cousins made a deal. Paolo agreed to help vote Aldo off Gucci’s Board of Directors and in return, Maurizio would let Paolo independently lead some design work in the company.

[00:10:35] And the plan worked. Maurizio was able to take Aldo’s place as president.

[00:10:41] However, just as his professional life took off, his personal one was beginning to crumble, or at least, change.

[00:10:50] Despite their differences, just before his death, Rodolfo Gucci had warned Patrizia, his daughter in law, that Maurizio would change once he gained more power. “You will find you are married to another man,” he told her.

[00:11:05] And his prediction came true. 

[00:11:08] Once he became president, Maurizio began spending less and less time with his family and started to cut Patrizia out of the day-to-day running of the Gucci business. She was no longer able to steer the company in her own direction.

[00:11:24] And it wasn’t just a lust for power that was driving Maurizio away.

[00:11:29] After buying his extraordinarily large sailing boat, he took a keen interest in sailing, sponsoring races and teams all over the world. And while Patrizia did not share this passion, he soon found someone who did. 

[00:11:45] He met an American model called Sheree Loud at a sailing event in 1984. Despite both being married to other people, Maurizio avidly pursued her and the two began an affair that same year.

[00:12:00] They travelled together to sailing events across the world and Sheree helped him to renovate his boat. They seemed to have much more in common than Maurizio and Patrizia.

[00:12:11] And so, in March of 1985, Maurizio packed his bags and left his family home.

[00:12:18] At first, he told his wife that he was simply going on a business trip. But, the next day, he sent a mutual friend to tell her that he would not be returning at all.

[00:12:30] This, of course, greatly angered Patrizia.

[00:12:33] Not only did he not have the courage to tell her in person, but he also wanted her to keep up appearances and, in public, pretend that they were still happily married.

[00:12:45] The couple had not yet officially divorced, so Patrizia did as Maurizio asked, perhaps in the hopes of winning him back.

[00:12:54] Maurizio, meanwhile, was only able to enjoy his new life as the president of Gucci and free from his controlling wife for a short time.

[00:13:04] Aldo, his uncle, felt publicly humiliated by his exile from Gucci. His nephew had removed many aspects of the company that were considered his legacy.

[00:13:16] Paolo also was unhappy with his cousin, Maurizio. He had never followed through with his promise to give him the creative freedom he had agreed to.

[00:13:26] So Aldo and Paolo teamed up and together they claimed that Maurizio, in order to avoid inheritance tax, had forged his father’s signature on forms transferring him his late father’s shares.

[00:13:42] And when they reported this to the authorities, Maurizio was charged with the crime.

[00:13:47] Luckily for him, he managed to avoid prison. In an almost James Bond-like fashion, as police were coming to arrest him he received a warning from his lawyer and quickly jumped on a motorbike, fleeing to Switzerland.

[00:14:02] This is where he would stay for several years until he was acquitted, essentially found not guilty.

[00:14:10] During this time, he was stripped of the Gucci presidency. 

[00:14:13] But, he still owned half of the company.

[00:14:16] Once again, he had to hatch a plan to, form a plan to regain control. And this time, he would leave no room for retaliation.

[00:14:27] So, in 1988, with the help of an investment bank called Investcorp, he began to buy out the rest of his family, meaning that they would no longer own shares in Gucci.

[00:14:40] The first target was Paolo. Still struggling to set up his own fashion label, he could use the money he got from selling his shares to fund this venture. And so he sold them to Investcorp.

[00:14:53] After this, Maurizio persuaded more of his cousins to sell their shares, all won over by the large cash amounts they would receive.

[00:15:03] Feeling betrayed by his own sons, and being the last one to hold onto his shares, Aldo eventually sold too. But it wasn’t easy for him; he told Maurizio it was like selling his own soul.

[00:15:17] So by 1989, Maurizio was not only in full control of Gucci again, but he was the last of his family left in the company and free to make all the changes wanted.

[00:15:30] He closed many Gucci stores, ended franchises, and reduced the number of products that Gucci produced. He also brought in new designers and executives to give Gucci a fresh look.

[00:15:44] Unfortunately, that same year Maurizio and Sheree Loud’s relationship came to an end.

[00:15:50] But it didn’t take too long for Maurizio to find romance again.

[00:15:54] Just a year later, in 1990, he started dating interior designer Paola Franchi. Franchi had been a friend of Maurizio and Patrizia’s, and had even gone to their wedding.

[00:16:06] Patrizia was enraged, she was livid

[00:16:10] Meanwhile, at Gucci, things weren’t going so well.

[00:16:15] Maurizio was a reckless spender, both personally and professionally. His restructuring of the company had been expensive, and he’d spent money on trivial things such as lavish new offices.

[00:16:30] This ate away at Gucci’s bottom line, and the finances were in the red. Investcorp no longer trusted Maurizio to run the company, and they wanted to buy him out too.

[00:16:43] Maurizio had also been taking out bank loans to help fund his extravagant personal life. But with no way to pay back these loans, the banks also threatened to seize his shares.

[00:16:57] But Maurizio was not about to give up his ownership of Gucci that easily, so he decided to take out yet another loan.

[00:17:06] This time it was with a man called Delfo Zorzi, a suspected terrorist living in Japan. In exchange for tens of millions of euros, Maurizio promised Zorzi the rights to sell Gucci in Asia. 

[00:17:21] Unfortunately for him, no amount of loans or dodgy dealings could save him, and in 1993 he finally sold his half of Gucci to Investcorp.

[00:17:32] This marked the end of the Gucci family’s involvement with the Gucci fashion house.

[00:17:38] Supposedly, this final exchange deeply angered Patrizia, his ex-wife. Perhaps she felt betrayed, as she’d always felt like a Gucci, or perhaps it was because she would never again be able to have influence in the company.

[00:17:55] But things were only going to get worse for Patrizia when, in 1994, Maurizio finally officially divorced her.

[00:18:05] In the settlement, Patrizia received property, a lump sum of millions of euros and a yearly allowance of hundreds of thousands of euros. 

[00:18:14] But to her, this was a “mere bowl of lentils”. She wanted more.

[00:18:20] Worse still, she was legally prohibited from using the Gucci name, although she never actually stopped referring to herself as a Gucci.

[00:18:29] And these issues were just the start. Maurizio, still not having learned his lesson, continued to burn through the money he’d received from selling his shares, spending lavishly and renovating his apartment with his new lover according to his expensive tastes.

[00:18:47] What’s more, rumour had it that Maurizio wanted to marry Paola. 

[00:18:52] This threatened to reduce the payments Patrizia received from him. Plus, in her eyes, there was only room for one Mrs Gucci.

[00:19:01] But the pair never did marry, as in 1995 Maurizio Gucci was dead, lying in a pool of blood In front of his office.

[00:19:11] And this brings us back to the start of this episode.

[00:19:15] Who killed Maurizio Gucci?

[00:19:18] The first place the police looked was inside the Gucci family. With all the in-fighting and battles for control, could Maurizio have been murdered in revenge?

[00:19:29] Paolo was an obvious suspect. After selling his shares, he had continued legal battles with Maurizio over the rights to design clothes using the Gucci name.

[00:19:40] But there was no evidence linking Paolo to the crime.

[00:19:44] Next, they looked at Zorzi, the suspected criminal with whom Maurizio had taken out a loan. But they soon received evidence that he had paid off this loan in full, so there was no motive there.

[00:19:58] Luckily, the police received a very interesting tip-off.

[00:20:02] The concierge of a Milan hotel had bragged to a customer that he’d been paid to help organise a hitman to kill Maurizio Gucci.

[00:20:12] And who had paid him? 

[00:20:14] If you didn’t know, perhaps you’d guessed it.

[00:20:17] It was Patrizia, Maurizio Gucci’s ex-wife.

[00:20:20] And the more the police investigated Patrizia, the more guilty she seemed. She had not exactly kept it a secret that she despised her ex-husband.

[00:20:30] After their divorce, she had left him threatening messages, in one even saying, “For you, it is hell to come.”

[00:20:38] And even less subtly, she had asked just about everyone she knew whether they could help her dispose of her ex-husband, even talking about it with her divorce lawyer.

[00:20:49] Her behaviour after his death was suspicious, too. On the day he died, she had written just one word in her diary: paradise.

[00:20:59] And, just three hours after he died, she had drawn up a notice to evict Paola, to kick Paola out from the apartment she had shared with Maurizio. She seemed too prepared for her ex-husband's death, almost as if she had known it would happen.

[00:21:18] The final, damning piece of evidence came after the police wire-tapped the hotel concierge’s car. 

[00:21:25] They caught members of the group who had helped plan and carry out the murder talking about their payment from Patrizia. They were unhappy with the amount she had paid them and were beginning to hatch a plan to extort more out of her.

[00:21:40] But before anything could come of it, the police turned up at Patrizia’s doorstep on the morning of the 31st of January 1997. They were there to arrest her.

[00:21:51] Seemingly calm and unsurprised by this, Patrizia had just one thing she wanted to do before she was taken to prison. She had to go and put on a fur coat and fine jewellery.

[00:22:04] At her trial, she maintained her innocence. But, with 43 boxes of evidence presented against her, she was quickly found guilty and sentenced to 29 years for arranging an assassination.

[00:22:19] In 2011, she actually got an early chance at freedom through what's called a work-release programme, meaning you can get out of prison if you get a job.

[00:22:29] However, she turned this opportunity down, saying that she had never worked a day in her life and she sure as hell wasn’t going to start now. Five years later she was finally released after serving 18 years. 

[00:22:43] Despite her previous comments about never having had a job, she has even expressed an interest in working for Gucci again because, according to her, she is “the most Gucci of them all.”

[00:22:58] OK then, that is it for today's episode on the murder of Maurizio Gucci. 

[00:23:04] I hope it's been an interesting one, and that you've learnt something new.

[00:23:07] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode.

[00:23:11] Do you think that Patrizia’s sentence was too lenient, and she would have been given a longer sentence if she wasn’t so wealthy?

[00:23:18] Do you think that it was the money that corrupted the Gucci family, or was there something deeper?

[00:23:23] I would love to know, so let’s get this discussion started.

[00:23:27] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:23:35] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:23:40] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]