Fallen media baron Vittorio Cecchi Gori has been placed under house arrest for alleged wrongdoings linked to the bankruptcy of his former Serie A football club, Fiorentina.
Firemen entered Cecchi Gori's house early on Tuesday morning with a ladder after police failed to obtain a response from the entrepreneur who was inside, news agencies reported. The fire brigade then backed away after the door was allegedly opened from inside.
"This is a conspiracy against me," Cecchi Gori was reported to have said during his arrest. He has been under investigation for charges including false accounting and fraudulent bankruptcy. Last year, Cecchi Gori was also alleged to have channelled money away from his Fiorentina football club (which went bankrupt this summer) to fund his film production and distribution interests.
Before news broke of his arrest, things already looked as if they couldn't get any worse for cinema's former golden boy.
Hours before his arrest, Rome daily La Repubblica published an interview with director Paolo Virzi's, whose latest film My Name is Tanino has been held up amidst Cecchi Gori's financial chaos.
The film's print, which screened in Venice in September, has been blocked from release until Cecchi Gori pays his creditors.
"I am very pessimistic about the outcome of my film," Virzi told Repubblica. "Cecchi Gori has such huge problems I don't think there is any possibility of freeing my film from the prison it is in. To have it released, Cecchi Gori would have to pay Euros1m to his creditors. One of them, Panalight, has managed to get the only available print confiscated," he said.
Virzi added: "Miramax wanted to see my film, but they weren't able to get hold of a copy." Cecchi Gori's office in Rome said there would be no news about the Virzi case until at least the end of November.
Meanwhile, Claudio Trionfera, spokesman for Medusa who has bought local distribution rights from Cecchi Gori to the film, said: "We cannot do anything about releasing the film until Cecchi Gori pays his creditors. We don't know when that will happen and there is nothing we can do about it. So we don't have a release date planned for the moment."
Other Cecchi Gori movies that are hanging in limbo awaiting distribution include Claude Lelouch's And Now Ladies and Gentlemen, Sergio Rubini's Venice Upstream title, Anima Gemella and Giovanni Albanese's AAA Achille.
They are all part of a package that Cecchi Gori sold earlier this year toMedusa which were due to be released under a joint distribution banner.
In the meantime, Cecchi Gori confirmed that it currently has no films in any stage of production.