Swanky Rome hotel seized in mafia sweep

A luxury Rome hotel, which was a monastery before being converted ahead of the Catholic Church’s Jubilee in 2000, was among the assets seized from businessmen linked to the mafia on Tuesday.

Swanky Rome hotel seized in mafia sweep

The four-star Grand Hotel Gianicolo, which sits atop the Gianicolo hill and has some of the best views of Rome, was seized from Calabrian property magnate Giuseppe Mattiani and his son, who are believed to have links with the ‘Ndrangheta mafia.

They bought the property from a religious congregation in the late 1990s, paying around 11bn lire in cash, and later asked for a $13bn bank loan “to mask the operation”, La Repubblica reported.

The plan was to cash-in on the arrival of thousands of pilgrims for the millenium Jubilee, Corriere reported.

"This goes to show how far 'Ndrangheta money has penetrated the Italian capital," police said in comments reported by the Italian news agency, ANSA.

"They are quite bold about where they will launder their money".

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Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.