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Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, 94, goes to war with son over her fortune

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Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida has hired a mafia-busting lawyer as she battles her own son for control of her £35million fortune.

The 94-year-old, known in her heyday as the world’s most beautiful woman, has recruited former Palermo prosecutor Antonio Ingroia as she gears up for the next stage in a long-running legal battle with estranged son Milko Skofic.

Skofic has accused his mother’s 34-year-old assistant, Andrea Piazzolla, of defrauding her and received a court ruling last month that she can only use her money for everyday expenses until the lawsuits against Piazzolla are resolved.

In a tearful interview on Italian TV that aired Sunday, Lollobrigida said she is “humiliated”, demanded “my legitimate right to grow old without being robbed” and said the court should “let me grow old and be in peace.” would let it die’.

Gina Lollobrigida, an actress known in her heyday as the world’s most beautiful woman (pictured in 1954), has recruited a mafia accuser to battle her estranged son over her fortune

Gina Lollobrigida

Gina Lollobrigida

Lollobrigida (pictured left in 1958 and right in 1959) says she has been ‘humiliated’ by a court ruling in October, meaning she has lost control of her estate

The 94-year-old gave a tearful interview on Italian TV on Sunday (pictured), in which she said she should 'live and die in peace'

The 94-year-old gave a tearful interview on Italian TV on Sunday (pictured), in which she said she should ‘live and die in peace’

“I don’t deserve this,” she told Italian TV channel Rai1. ‘I haven’t done anything wrong yet’ [my family] are furious with me and do not leave me alone.

‘At my age I should have peace, but I don’t have it yet. I have the right to live and die in peace.”

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 to her manager, before moving in with her with his partner.

There has been speculation for years about how close the couple had become – with Piazzolla often showing up at award ceremonies on Lollobrigida’s arm.

In any case, the case against him dates back to 2015, when he was accused of taking control of the Vissi D’arte firm, which manages Lollobrigida’s assets and uses it to sell three luxury properties and buy a Ferrari sports car. .

Piazzolla was also accused of using bank accounts in his parents’ name to transfer thousands of euros of the movie star’s fortune.

The latest lawsuit involved 350 pieces of art and antiques worth an estimated £250,000, which Piazzolla is accused of selling without Lollobrigida’s knowledge.

Ahead of the case, Skofic has filed a petition with the Italian Supreme Court to get a hold on his mother’s assets to prevent any more from being given away as gifts.

In early October, the court ruled in his favor after hearing that Lollobrigida had a “weakened sense of reality,” making her “vulnerable” to exploitation.

Antonio Ingroia (right), a former Palermo prosecutor, has vowed to help Lollobrigida (left) regain control of her estimated £35m fortune

Antonio Ingroia (right), a former Palermo prosecutor, has vowed to help Lollobrigida (left) regain control of her estimated £35m fortune

Andrea Piazzolla, Lollobrigida's driver turned manager, is accused of defrauding her of hundreds of thousands of pounds, including buying a Ferrari sports car

Andrea Piazzolla, Lollobrigida’s driver turned manager, is accused of defrauding her of hundreds of thousands of pounds, including buying a Ferrari sports car

Piazzolla has a close relationship with the Italian actress and has attended the awards ceremonies on her arm - sparking speculation about the nature of their relationship

Piazzolla has a close relationship with the Italian actress and has attended the awards ceremonies on her arm – sparking speculation about the nature of their relationship

The judges ruled that while she was able to control her daily expenses, she should be prevented from managing her most valuable assets until the case against Piazzolla is closed.

After that ruling, she recruited Ingroia, who starred in a Netflix series where he talked about reclaiming the assets of anti-mafia journalist Pino Maniaci after he was charged with racketeering. He was eventually acquitted.

Ingroia told Rai1 on Sunday: ‘I am her lawyer because she was looking for me and felt the need to fight and look for someone who would fight next to her.

“For years I have fought against the mafia and with the same spirit for a freedom struggle that I want to fight and that I am doing with Gina Lollobrigida.”

In a conversation with Il Sussidiario, he accused Skofic of being only interested in his mother’s health because it is her money.

“The problem that caused all this was not that Mrs. Lollobrigida is ill, but the destruction of her possessions. The problem is the heritage,” he said.

And while outlining her exact relationship with Piazzolla to Rai1, Lollobrigida said she sees him “like a son” and revealed that he named his daughter Gina after her — describing the little girl as “a tiger.”

She described him as “a windfall” that has “helped me move forward” with her life in recent years after she became estranged from Skofic.

And as for attending awards ceremonies, she said that Piazzolla accompanies her because he speaks English and acts as a translator.

She dismissed the latest lawsuit, adding: “Life is mine and I get to decide what to do with it.

Gina with son Milko Skofic

Gina with son Milko Skofic

Milko Skofic, the actress’s estranged son (left in 1970 and right in 2010), is fighting Piazzolla’s case, alleging he is abusing the aging actress

Lollobrigida (pictured in 1959) described Piazzolla as

Lollobrigida (pictured in 1959) described Piazzolla as “like a son” to her, saying that what she decides to do with her money is “no one else’s business”

“Giving gifts to Andrea and his family is something that concerns me and no one else.”

Skofic, in a statement published after the TV interview, rejected claims that he had taken legal action against his mother and said he was acting to protect her.

A letter drafted by his lawyer reads: “Moved by unaltered affection and keen concern at the shameful destruction of his [mother’s] assets on behalf of Mr Piazzolla and his circle, they have turned to the competent authority to establish the facts and take appropriate action.”

It’s not the first time a man close to Lollobrigida has been accused of stealing her fortune.

Three years ago, Lollobrigida accused her former toyboy lover, Javier Rigau y Rafols, of marrying her in an attempt to inherit her money.

She had been with the 58-year-old for over 20 years and the couple reportedly planned to marry, but the ceremony never took place after the star called it off.

But despite the split in 2007, the Spanish businessman managed to marry her by proxy in 2010 without her knowledge, employing an impersonator like Lollobrigida at the Barcelona service.

She only discovered the marriage in 2013, and Rigau was charged with fraud and forgery.

A film star and sex symbol of the 1960s and 1970s, Lollobrigida appeared in more than 60 films and is still regarded as a star of Italian cinema – despite her last film being 20 years ago.

Along with rival Sofia Loren, Lollobrigida was one of a small number of Italian stars to achieve international fame with a career in Hollywood.

She starred in such films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1956, Strange Bedfellows alongside Rock Hudson in 1965 and Good Evening, Ms Campbell in 1968 – collaborating with Sean Connery, Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra, among others.

Affectionately known as ‘La Lollo’ by fans and family, she has also starred in Trapeze and Woman of Rome, now splitting her time between a villa in Monte Carlo, a mansion in Rome and another property in Sicily.

After acting, Lollobrigida began a career as a photographer and sculptor in the 1980s.

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