Sunday, October 28, 2007

PAVAROTTI'S 2ND WIFE INVESTIGATED

Luciano Pavarotti's second wife is being investigated over claims the late opera singer was "coerced" into signing over his entire US fortune to her. Nicoletta Mantovani, 38, received all her late husband's £12 million US estate (US $24 million), including a New York apartment, a Henri Matisse painting and furniture - in his American will following his death last month. Pavarotti's three daughters from his first marriage, Lorenza, Cristina and Giuliana, received nothing in the American will, although an earlier draft left almost everything to them. The other night, Italian prosecutors launched their own probe into the possibility Pavarotti - who died aged 71, after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer - was forced into signing a new will just six weeks before his death. Pesaro prosecutor Massimo Di Patria - who is heading the investigation - said: "What is being suggested is very serious. I will be looking to see if Pavarotti was coerced - that he had no idea he was signing because of his state of mind." Giorgio Bernini, the lawyer for Mantovani - who had a four-year-old daughter, Alice with the singer - said: "I find this accusation deeply offensive to the memory of Luciano Pavarotti the insinuation that his legal team made him sign something he had no idea he was signing is disgusting." Pavarotti's London agent Terri Robson denied the singer was not of sound mind when he signed the will, saying: "He knew exactly what he was doing." Di Patria decided to launch the investigation after reading an interview with notary official Luciano Buonanno in an Italian magazine. Buonanno described meeting Pavarotti at his Pesaro seaside villa to go over his American will in July. He said: "The lady of the house (Mantovani) was very cold. She appeared very nervous and acknowledged my greeting without even shaking my hand and then she left for the beach. "At an earlier meeting I hadn't been happy about some points of the American will but I was told that it had all been sorted by his lawyers and I was not to change anything." The probe comes just days after it was reported Pavarotti's family have been left with millions in debts.

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