Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida has hired a mafia-busting lawyer as she fights her own son for control over her £35million fortune. 

The 94-year-old, known in her heyday as the world’s most-beautiful woman, has recruited former Palermo prosecutor Antonio Ingroia as she gears up for the next stage in a long-running legal battle with estranged son Milko Skofic.

Skofic accuses his mother’s 34-year-old assistant Andrea Piazzolla of defrauding her, and last month obtained a court ruling that means she can only use her money for day-to-day expenses until legal cases against Piazzolla are resolved.

In a tearful interview on Italian TV that aired Sunday, Lollobrigida said she is being ‘humiliated’, demanded ‘my legitimate right to grow old without being robbed’ and said the court should ‘let me grow old and die in peace’.

Gina Lollobrigida, an actress known in her heyday as the world's most-beautiful woman (pictured in 1954), has recruited a mafia prosecutor to battle estranged son over her fortune

Gina Lollobrigida was an actress who is regarded as one of the most beautiful women in the world (pictured in 1954). She has now hired a mafia prosecutor in order to fight her estranged son for her fortune

Gina Lollobrigida

Gina Lollobrigida

Lollobrigida, pictured right in 1959 and left in 1958 respectively, says that she was ‘humiliated” by an October court decision which means she is no longer in control of her estate.

The 94-year-old gave a tearful interview on Italian TV on Sunday (pictured), in which she said she should be allowed 'to live and die in peace'

She gave a heartfelt interview (pictured) on Sunday on Italian TV. In which she stated she wanted to be allowed to “live and die with peace”.

“I don’t merit this,” she said to Rai1 Italian television channel. She said, “I haven’t done anything wrong.” [my family]I am furious and they won’t stop me.

“At my age, peace should be my right. I do not have that yet. I am entitled to both live and die in peace.

Lollobrigida has a relationship with Piazzolla that dates back to at least a decade. Piazzolla became her driver age 24.

In the following, he was promoted as her handyman and later to her manager. He then moved to live with his partner.

Speculation has swirled for years about how close the pair had become – with Piazzolla often showing up at awards ceremonies on Lollobrigida’s arm. 

His case dates back at most to 2015 when he was accused of taking control over firm Vissi D’arte that manages Lollobrigida’s properties and using the company to buy three Ferrari sports cars as well as sell three other luxury properties.

Piazzolla was also charged with using his parents’ bank accounts to transfer thousands from the fortune of the movie star.

The latest legal case related to 350 items of art and antiques worth an estimated £250,000 that Piazzolla is accused of selling without Lollobrigida’s knowledge.

Ahead of the case, Skofic applied to the Italian Supreme Court to have a block put on his mother’s assets to stop any more being given away as gifts.

The court decided in Lollobrigida’s favor, after she explained that Lollobrigida was suffering from a weak sense of reality that made her vulnerable to exploitation.

Antonio Ingroia (right), a former prosecutor from Palermo, has vowed to help Lollobrigida (left) regain control over her estimated £35million fortune

Antonio Ingroia (right), a former prosecutor from Palermo, has vowed to help Lollobrigida (left) regain control over her estimated £35million fortune

Andrea Piazzolla, Lollobrigida's driver-turned-manager, is accused of defrauding her out of hundreds of thousands of pounds including buying a Ferrari sports car

Andrea Piazzolla, Lollobrigida’s driver-turned-manager, is accused of defrauding her out of hundreds of thousands of pounds including buying a Ferrari sports car

Piazzolla is close with the Italian actress, and has attended awards ceremonies on her arm - sparking speculation about the nature of their relationship

Piazzolla has been seen at awards ceremonies with her arm, sparking speculation as to their relationship.

Judges ruled that, while she could keep control over her day-to-day expenses, she should be prevented from managing her most valuable assets until the case against Piazzolla is concluded.

Following that ruling, she recruited Ingroia who had starred in a Netflix series in which he spoke about recovering the assets of anti-mafia journalist Pino Maniaci after he was accused of extortion. Ingroia was ultimately acquitted. 

Speaking to Rai1 on Sunday, Mr Ingroia said: ‘I am her lawyer because she looked for me and felt this need to fight and look for someone who would fight alongside her. 

“I have been fighting against the mafia for years and now I fight with this spirit to win a war of freedom that I desire, and which I am currently doing along Gina Lollobrigida.

Speaking to Il Sussidiario, he accused Skofic of being interested in his mother’s health only because it concerns her money.

The problem was not Ms. Lollobrigida’s illness, it was the destruction of her assets. He said that the problem was in her heritage.

And outlining her exact relationship with Piazzolla to Rai1, Lollobrigida said she views him ‘like a son’ and revealed that he has named his daughter Gina after her – describing the little girl as ‘a tiger’.

She has described him as ‘a stroke of luck’ who ‘helped me move forwards’ with her life in recent years after she became estranged from Skofic.

And as for him attending awards ceremonies, she said Piazzolla accompanies her because he is able to speak English and acts as a translator.

After slamming the most recent legal case she said, “Life is mine. I can decide what to do.” 

Gina with son Milko Skofic

Gina with son Milko Skofic

Milko Skofic, the actress’s estranged son (left in 1970and right in 2010), is fighting the case against Piazzolla – claiming he is taking advantage of the ageing actress

Lollobrigida (pictured in 1959) described Piazzolla as being 'like a son' to her, and says that what she decides to do with her money 'concerns me and no one else'

Lollobrigida, pictured in 1959, described Piazzolla’s personality as being “like a child” to her. She said that her decision about what to do with her money is something that ‘concerns’ her and no one else. 

“Giving gifts Andrea’s family and friends is something I care about and nothing else.”

Skofic stated in a statement that he did not claim that he took legal action against his mother. He said he was protecting her.

The lawyer wrote in a letter: “Moved by unchanging affection and lively concern about the shameful extermination of his.” [mother’s]Assets for Mr. Piazzolla’s benefit, they turned to the authority concerned to verify the facts and to take appropriate steps.

This is not the first time that a man close to Lollobrigida has been accused of trying to steal her fortune.

Lollobrigida was accused of her ex-toyboy boyfriend Javier Rigauy y Rafols of conning Lollobrigida into marrying him in order to inherit her wealth three years ago.

The 58-year old was her partner for more than 20 years. They reportedly had plans to wed, but it never happened after the star called off.

However, despite their split in 2007, the Spanish businessman was able to marry her through proxy in 2010. He used an impersonator as Lollobrigida to pretend to be her at the Barcelona service.

Rigau was only notified of the union in 2013, and Rigau was charged for fraud and forgery.

A film star and sex symbol of the 1960s and 70s, Lollobrigida starred in more than 60 films and is still considered a star of Italian cinema – despite her last movie being two decades ago.   

Lollobrigida, along with Sofia Loren was one of few Italian actors who gained international stardom through a Hollywood career.

She starred in such films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1956, Strange Bedfellows alongside Rock Hudson in 1965 and Good Evening, Ms Campbell in 1968 – acting alongside the likes of Sean Connery, Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra.

Fans and her family affectionately call her “La Lollo”. She also appeared in Trapeze, Woman of Rome, as well as Trapeze. Now, she splits her time between Monte Carlo, Rome, and another property in Sicily.

Lollobrigida began acting in 1980s. She then became a photographer, and later a sculptor.