Father of Nigella Lawson aides nabbed for extortion

Last Updated: Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 19:26

Rome: The mobster father of British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson`s two assistants, who were acquitted at a high-profile fraud trial in London last month, has been arrested for allegedly extorting nightclubs in Milan.

Michele Grillo, 66, previously served 15 years in prison for a kidnapping in the 1980s by the `Ndrangheta organised crime syndicate but claimed he had changed his ways and was now working honestly as a truck driver.

Prosecutors who ordered his arrest on Wednesday said he is in fact the right-hand man of Agostino Catanzariti, who was also detained and is alleged to be the ring-leader of the group taking protection money from some of Milan`s top clubs.

"In this particular case the link between business owners and `Ndrangheta goes back a decade with a sort of `insurance` that was periodically renewed," Paolo Storari, a prosecutor in charge of the investigation, was quoted as saying.
Police wiretaps of phone conversations between Grillo and Catanzariti have also led to the re-opening of an investigation into a murder in 1976, prosecutors said.
Grillo`s two daughters, Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo, worked for Lawson and her ex-husband, the millionaire art collector Charles Saatchi.

AFP

First Published: Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 19:26

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