'I?ve never worked in my life?, Gucci widow refuses probation

By Giulia Cambieri

Patrizia Reggiani, former wife of the luxury goods heir Maurizio Gucci, has refused a judge’s offer to go on probation, which would allow her to leave prison during the day to take up a job.

The 63-year old, who is serving a 26-year jail sentence for having her billionaire ex-husband murdered in March 1995, justified her decision by saying she is not used to working.

“I’ve never worked in my life. I’d rather spend my time in jail, where I’ve reached a mental equilibrium and where I can take care of my plants,” she said.

Reggiani’s lawyer, Danilo Buongiorno, added that the Gucci widow already enjoys weekly day releases to visit her elderly mother. In prison, she also looks after a pet ferret.

Reggiani, nicknamed “the black widow” by the Italian media, was sentenced in 1997 for ordering the murder of the fashion mogul in an attempt to prevent him from dissipating the family fortune with his new girlfriend, Paola Franchi.

Gucci, who inherited half of the family business after the death of his father in 1983, was shot dead as he climbed the stairs of his office in Milan.

In an interview with Vanity Fair a few months after the killing, Reggiani gave an unflattering description of her ex-husband, saying: “'Maurizio was simply a thing called Gucci that had to be washed and dressed.''

Gucci was founded in Florence in 1921 as a leather goods company. But in 1988, following disputes among members of the Gucci family, third-generation Maurizio was forced to sell the family business to Bahrein-based company Investcorp. In 2003, luxury retail giant PPR, headed by Francois Pinault, gained ownership of 60% of Gucci.