• Short Summary

    An Italian skin diver has claimed that four heavy iron cases he ???nd in Lake Garda might contain Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's treasure of gold ingots.

  • Description

    (MONO) Naples 1931 - Italian leader, Benito Mussolini arriving in main square as crowds cheer and wave his portrait and Mussolini address crowds from balcony in square (5 shots)

    (COLOUR) Newspaper headlines announcing discovery of treasure thought likely to have belonged to Mussolini

    CU PAN FROM War monument to Mayor's residence, formerly Mussolini's headquarters

    CU PAN Poster outside Mayor's residence to Lake Garda

    CU Mr Mario Cont, leader of skin-diving expedition speaking in Italian and pointing to map of Lake Garda where treasure discovered (3 shots)

    Initials AM

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: An Italian skin diver has claimed that four heavy iron cases he ???nd in Lake Garda might contain Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's treasure of gold ingots. The whereabouts of the reputed treasure has been a mystery since the end of World War Two. According to some reports it was sunk in Lake Como, near Dongo. This was where Mussolini and other Fascist leaders were captured and executed in 1945 as they fled to Switzerland.

    SYNOPSIS: Mussolini was the first of Europe's Fascist dictators. He's pictured here at the height of his popularity with the Italian people. It was 1931, and the ninth anniversary of his rise to power as Prime Minister. At the start of World War Two, Mussolini joined the conflict on the side of Adolf Hitler.

    In November, 3 years after this death, Mussolini's name was in the Italian headlines again. His gold treasures may lie at the bottom of Lake Garda at Salo. Here, at the war's end, the Italian leader established a new republican Fascist regime. But his headquarters, now the mayor's residence, was no more than a puppet government, at the mercy of the German command.

    Mr Mario Cont, the head of a skin-diving club in Trento, discovered the cases 150 feet (46 metres) under the lake. He said two of them were heavier than the others and were likely to contain the gold and jewellery. The others possibly contained official documents. He said the four containers were bound together with metal thread. One of them is inscribed with the words "Top Secret". Mr Cont thinks this may be significant.

    Mr Cont said the Italian government has not yet offered money or assistance for the cases to be removed from the lake and investigated, He said he's sure they contain Mussolini's treasure - valuables of the former Fascist republic, which the British intelligence service have searched for since the end of the war.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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