Mob boss: TV drama has dam­aged my im­age

The Daily Telegraph - - World news - By Nick Squires in Rome

AS A con­victed mafia boss who is serv­ing a life term in jail for mur­der, ex­tor­tion and drug traf­fick­ing, it might seem that Michele Za­garia’s rep­u­ta­tion could hardly sink any lower.

But the 59-year-old mobster, who was win­kled out of a se­cret bunker near Naples af­ter 16 years on the run, is now claim­ing that his im­age has been be­smirched by a tele­vi­sion drama about his life and has de­manded €100,000 (£88,400) in com­pen­sa­tion. Lawyers for the mafia god­fa­ther, who is be­hind bars in a high-se­cu­rity prison in Mi­lan, have made a for­mal com­plaint and a tri­bunal hear­ing has been fixed.

The con­victed killer has taken ex­cep­tion to the se­ries, called Un­der­cover – the cap­ture of Za­garia, which has be­gun show­ing on RAI, Italy’s state broad­caster. “Hav­ing seen the first episode, we asked RAI to sus­pend the se­ries. They should not be al­lowed to broad­cast im­ages that are con­trary to the truth,” said Bar­bara Let­tieri, his lawyer. The broad­caster re­fused to pull the drama and so Za­garia has de­cided to take the case to court, with a hear­ing due to be held in Rome on Nov 28.

The con­victed mobster al­leges that the se­ries is full of in­ven­tions and ex­ag­ger­a­tion. But what re­ally in­censes him is the fact that his char­ac­ter is sex­u­ally at­tracted to the daugh­ter of the fam­ily who hid him for so many years. “This is some­thing that has deeply of­fended and ap­palled our client,” his lawyer said.

Za­garia was the leader of the no­to­ri­ous Casalesi clan of the Naples-based Camorra mafia.

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