ITALIAN FASHION DESIGNER Gianni Versace was murdered because of debts he owed to the Mafia, according to a report in the Telegraph.
Versace, 50, was shot dead in July 1997 outside his home in Miami by American serial killer Andrew Cunanan. Cunanan, who is believed to have killed four other people, killed himself afterwards.
According to a new book, former member of the Calabrian Mafia Giuseppe Di Bella claims Versace was killed because of debts he owed. He also claims the Mafia planned to steal the designer’s ashes to blackmail his family, but did not carry out the plan.
Di Bella, a police informant, claims Versace was being used to launder money, according to the Telegraph. Italian authorities say his information has proven accurate in the past and they are investigating the allegations.
Versace’s family denies Di Bella’s allegations and says they reserve the right to protect Versace’s memory and reputation, Vogue reports.
Since his death, Gianni Versace’s sister Donatella, brother Santo and niece Allegra have controlled the Versace label. Madonna, Elton John, Naomi Campbell and Princess Diana were among the mourners at his funeral.