The yacht was a gift to the Fascist dictator in the 1930s.
Italian police have seized a yacht that once belonged to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from a businessman they believe has links to organised crime.
The historic sailboat, called Fiamma Nera (Black Flame), was one of nearly €30m in assets taken from Italian entrepreneur Salvatore Squillante as part of an investigation into multiple individuals and companies.
Squillante, 68, allegedly purchased the yacht through one of the companies seized as part the “Mafia Capital” organised crime trials that began in Rome in November 2015.
Mussolini received the Fiamma Nera as a gift in the 1930s from a fascist supporter. The dictator sank the yacht intentionally to keep it out of German hands when Italy fell to the Nazis during World War II in 1943.
Fiamma Nera, originally named Konigin II, was eventually recovered, then restored and renamed Serenella. The vessel went through several owners and various name changes before allegedly being purchased through one of Squillante’s companies seized by Italian police.
In addition to the classic sailboat, Italian media reported the businessman’s seized assets included a castle, apartments, luxury cars, offices and stores in Rome.
A court document that revealed the identity of the businessman reportedly suggested that he may have links to a Rome-based mafia network allegedly run by a former neo-fascist mobster. The investigation into the network is focused primarily on the use of public funds in allegedly illegal or fraudulent activities.
Fiamma Nera is said to be a Dutch yawl built by German shipyard Abeking and Rasmussen in 1912.
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