ROME — Italo producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori was released from preventive custody on Tuesday after four months spent first behind bars and subsequently under house arrest on charges of fraudulent bankruptcy.
A Rome judge has set Dec. 5 as the first court date for the trial of the once mighty Italo movie mogul behind hits, including “Life Is Beautiful.” Cecchi Gori had been arrested in June, accused of moving money around his companies to appear insolvent in order to avoid paying creditors, following the collapse of his Safin exhibition loop.
While Cecchi Gori’s legal and financial tribulations are far from over, there are still chances he could stay afloat.
The long-beleaguered Cecchi Gori, who maintains his innocence, recently obtained a small but potentially significant victory in his ongoing battle with Merrill Lynch.
In September, a Rome court ruled that Merrill Lynch, now being merged with Bank of America, owes Cecchi Gori Euros 102 million ($139 million) in an ongoing legal wrangle over Merrill Lynch’s alleged mismanagement of Cecchi Gori’s vast film library, which he had given Merrill Lynch as collateral for a large loan in 1998. Merrill Lynch is expected to appeal the key ruling in Cecchi Gori’s favor, which, regardless, marks a rare positive sign amid his many judicial woes.
While Cecchi Gori has long lost his status as the Italo industry’s top dog, he scored a hit in Italy earlier this year with prurient romancer “Scusa se ti chiamo amore” (Sorry If I Call You Love).
Cecchi Gori is among the producers of upcoming Roberto De Niro starrer “Everybody’s Fine,” a Kirk Jones-helmed remake of Giuseppe Tornatore’s road movie “Stanno Tutti Bene,” to be released by Miramax.