Mussolini's 'love boat' seized from alleged tax evader

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A yacht once property of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini has been seized by Italian police. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
13:40 CET+01:00
A yacht once owned by Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini has been seized from an Italian businessman with alleged links to the ongoing 'Mafia Capitale' case.

The yacht, a 23 meter yawl built in 1912, was among the €28 million worth of assets seized from the businessman, suspected of large-scale tax evasion, and two others, Italy's financial police said on Monday.

Other assets seized included 32 plots of land and 75 properties, some of which had been rented to Eriches 29, a company run by Salvatore Buzzi, one of the alleged ringleaders of the corrupt organized crime ring accused of infiltrating Rome's City Hall and siphoning off millions of euros in public money.

“The huge gap between their declared income and the high standard of living they enjoyed is possibly due to fiscal evasion and bankruptcy fraud,” said a statement from the public prosecutor's office in Rome.

The yacht, originally named Konigin II, was gifted to Mussolini in 1935 and renamed 'La Fiamma Nera' (The Black Flame).

Mussolini used it to hold trysts with his mistress, Clara Petacci, but sank the vessel in 1943 as the tide of the war turned to prevent it from falling into the hands of his enemies.

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After the Second World War, the boat was raised by an Italian count, who renamed the vessel 'Serenella', meaning lilac. 

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