Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida has hired a lawyer to destroy the Mafia while she and her own son fight for control of her £ 35 million fortune.
Known as the world’s most beautiful woman in her prime, the 94-year-old has recruited former Palermo prosecutor Antonio Ingroia to prepare for the next level in a long-running legal battle with estranged son Milko Skofic.
Skofic accuses his mother’s 34-year-old assistant, Andrea Piazzolla, of cheating on her, and won a court ruling last month stating that she can only use her money for everyday expenses until the litigation against Piazzolla is resolved.
In a tearful interview on Italian television that aired on Sunday, Lollobrigida said she was being “humiliated,” called for “my legitimate right to grow old without being robbed,” and said the court should “grow old and put me in.” Let peace die ”.
Gina Lollobrigida, an actress who was known in her heyday as the most beautiful woman in the world (picture 1954), has recruited a mafia prosecutor to fight the estranged son for her fortune
Lollobrigida (left in 1958 and right in 1959) says she was “humiliated” by an October court ruling, meaning that she no longer has any control over her estate
The 94-year-old gave a tearful interview on Italian television on Sunday (pictured) in which she said she should be allowed to “live and die in peace”.
“I don’t deserve this,” she told the Italian television station Rai1. ‘I haven’t done anything wrong yet [my family] are mad at me and won’t leave me alone.
“At my age I should have some rest, but I haven’t yet. I have the right to live in peace and also to die. ‘
Lollobrigida’s relationship with Piazzolla dates back at least a decade when he became her driver at the age of 24.
He was then promoted to her handyman and then her manager before moving in with her with his partner.
For years there has been speculation about how close the couple had gotten – with Piazzolla often showing up on Lollobrigida’s arm at awards ceremonies.
The case against him dates back at least to 2015, when he was accused of taking control of the Vissi D’arte company, which manages the assets of Lollobrigida, selling three luxury properties and the purchase of a Ferrari sports car.
Piazzolla has also been accused of transferring thousands of euros from the film star’s assets through bank accounts on behalf of his parents.
The latest lawsuit involved 350 works of art and antiques valued at an estimated £ 250,000 that Piazzolla is believed to have sold without Lollobrigida knowing.
Ahead of the trial, Skofic petitioned the Italian Supreme Court to freeze his mother’s assets to prevent more from being given away.
In early October, the court ruled in his favor after hearing that Lollobrigida had a “weakened sense of reality”, which meant that she was “vulnerable” to exploitation.
Antonio Ingroia (right), a former prosecutor from Palermo, has vowed to help Lollobrigida (left) regain control of her estimated £ 35 million fortune
Andrea Piazzolla, Lollobrigida’s driver and manager, is charged with cheating on her out of hundreds of thousands of pounds, including buying a Ferrari sports car
Piazzolla is close to the Italian actress and has attended awards shows on her arm – which has sparked speculation about the nature of their relationship
The judges ruled that while she could keep control of her daily expenses, she should be prevented from managing her most valuable assets until the case against Piazzolla was completed.
Following that ruling, she recruited Ingroia, who had starred in a Netflix series in which he spoke about recovering anti-mafia journalist Pino Maniaci’s fortune after he was accused of extortion. He was eventually acquitted.
Speaking to Rai1, Mr Ingroia said on Sunday: “I am her lawyer because she was looking for me and felt the need to fight and look for someone to fight by her side.
“For years I have fought against the mafia and the same spirit for a fight for freedom that I want to lead and that I lead alongside Gina Lollobrigida.”
In an interview with Il Sussidiario, he accused Skofic of only caring about his mother’s health because it was about her money.
“The problem that caused all of this was not Ms. Lollobrigida’s illness, but the destruction of her property. The problem is inheritance, ”he said.
And to outline her exact relationship with Piazzolla to Rai1, Lollobrigida said she saw him “like a son” and revealed that he named his daughter Gina after her – and described the little girl as a “tiger”.
She has described him as a “godsend” that has “helped me move forward” in recent years after becoming estranged from Skofic.
And as for him, when he takes part in awards ceremonies, she said that Piazzolla accompanies her because he speaks English and acts as a translator.
She slammed the latest legal case and added, “Life is mine and I can choose what to do with it.
Milko Skofic, the actress’ estranged son (left in 1970 and right in 2010) battles Piazzolla, claiming he was taking advantage of the aging actress
Lollobrigida (pictured in 1959) described Piazzolla as “like a son” to her and says that what she does with her money “affects me and nobody”
“Giving presents to Andrea and his family is something that interests me and nobody else.”
Skofic, in a statement released after the TV interview, denied claims that he had taken legal action against his mother and said he acted to protect her.
A letter written by his lawyer states: “Moved by unchanged affection and lively concern for the shameful destruction of his” [mother’s] Assets in favor of Mr. Piazzolla and his circle, they turned to the competent authority to determine the facts and to take the appropriate measures. “
This is not the first time a Lollobrigida man has been accused of attempting to steal her property.
Three years ago, Lollobrigida accused her former toy boy lover, Javier Rigau y Rafols, of cheating on her into marriage in order to inherit her money.
She dated the 58-year-old for over 20 years and the couple reportedly planned to get married, but the ceremony never took place after the star canceled it.
But despite the separation in 2007, the Spanish businessman managed to marry her by proxy in 2010 without her knowledge by using an impersonator as a lollobrigida at the service in Barcelona.
It wasn’t until 2013 that she discovered the marriage and Rigau was charged with fraud and forgery.
A movie star and sex symbol of the 1960s and 70s, Lollobrigida starred in more than 60 films and is still considered the star of Italian cinema – although her last film was two decades ago.
Along with rival Sofia Loren, Lollobrigida was one of the few Italian stars to achieve international fame with a career in Hollywood.
She starred in films such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1956, Strange Bedfellows alongside Rock Hudson in 1965, and Good Evening, Ms Campbell in 1968 – alongside Sean Connery, Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra.
Affectionately known by fans and family as “La Lollo”, she also starred in Trapeze and Woman of Rome and now divides her time between a villa in Monte Carlo, a villa in Rome and another property in Sicily.
After acting, Lollobrigida began a career as a photographer and sculptor in the 1980s.