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Vallanzasca's wife arrested in Camorra sweep

Notorious Milan gangster 'planned to set up mozzarella business'

09 December, 13:51
Vallanzasca's wife arrested in Camorra sweep (ANSA) - Rome, December 9 - The wife of one of Italy's most notorious gangsters, jailed former Milanese underworld boss Renato Vallanzasca, was one of 18 people arrested across Italy Monday in a probe into protection rackets run by the Neapolitan Camorra mafia.

Police said Vallanzasca, who is on day release while serving four consecutive life sentences for racketeering and murder, was able to work with the Camorra from jail, helped by wife Antonella D'Agostino.

The 63-year-old Vallanzasca, once romanticised for his prison breaks and life on the run and nicknamed 'Il Bel Rene' (Handsome Rene'), was planning to set up a mozzarella business in Milan with them, they said. The arrests took place in Caserta, Latina, Milan, Naples and Terni.

Vallanzasca became a rebel figure for some in the politically turbulent 1970s and a film accused of glamourising him sparked debate at the 2010 Venice Film Festival, with director Michele Placido criticised for a sympathetic portrait of a ruthless criminal who committed seven murders, three kidnappings and scores of armed robberies.

Placido was slammed for, among other things, casting heartthrob actor Kim Rossi Stuart in the lead role, making Vallanzasca seem a charming, seductive figure and failing to consult victims' families during production.

The row escalated when Placido replied that Vallanzasca had an "ethic to his evil", that if he appeared seductive in the film it was because the work was true to life and that "there are people in parliament who have done worse".

Vallanzasca was first sent to jail in 1972 but he escaped several times and spent long spells out as a fugitive.

He orchestrated many prison riots during his time inside.

He appeared to have mellowed with age and got permission to leave custody during the day to work in a leather workshop.