Police investigate fake Italian gynaecologist for online scam exams

Italian police Friday searched the house of suspected serial sexual predator believed to have posed as a gynaecologist to persuade dozens of women to undergo vaginal exams via weblink.

Police investigate fake Italian gynaecologist for online scam exams
Photo by Isabella BONOTTO / AFP

Police in the southern city of Bari seized several smartphones and memory cards from the 40-year old, after wiretapping his calls following complaints from multiple victims.

The man is alleged to have called women who had undergone swabs at clinics across the country, to tell them they had been diagnosed with “several vaginal infections,” the police said in a statement.

“He then persuaded them to undergo an online gynaecological exam,” it said, adding that “over 400 women throughout Italy” had been targeted, from Lazio to Lombardia and Calabria.

“He introduced himself as a doctor. He knew my date and place of birth and asked me if I had done a gynaecological check-up in recent months,” the Repubblica daily quoted one victim as saying.

“He asked increasingly personal questions… then requested a video call via Zoom or Hangout… (and) asked me to show my private parts to confirm the diagnosis,” said the woman, referred to just as “Lucia”.

The investigation into the abuse is ongoing, police said.

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Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

Italy commemorated the death of Italian judge Giovanni Falcone on Monday, thirty years after the brutal Capaci bombing.

Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

The entire country paid tribute on Monday to anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, killed by the Sicilian mafia 30 years ago in a car bomb murder that shocked the country.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese laid a wreath at the memorial at the site of the blast at Capaci, near Palermo, that killed Falcone, his wife, and three members of his police escort on May 23rd 1992.

Another ceremony in Palermo was attended by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, whose brother Piersanti, then Sicily’s regional president, was also murdered by the mafia.

In a statement, Prime Minister Mario Draghi hailed the legacy of Falcone, saying that thanks to his “courage, professionalism and determination, Italy has become a freer and fairer country”.

He said Falcone and his colleagues – one of whom, Paolo Borsellino, was killed by Cosa Nostra two months later – “dealt decisive blows against the mafia”.

“Their heroism had rooted anti-mafia values in society, in new generations, in republican institutions,” he added, saying the “relentless fight against organised crime and […] the search for truth” must continue.

The mob used a skateboard to place a 500-kilogramme (1100-pound) charge of TNT and ammonium nitrate in a tunnel under the motorway which linked the airport to the centre of Palermo.

Falcone, driving a white Fiat Croma, was returning from Rome for the weekend. At a look-out point on the hill above, a mobster nicknamed “The Pig” pressed the remote control button as the judge’s three-car convoy passed.

The blast ripped through the asphalt, shredding bodies and metal, and flinging the lead car several hundred metres.

READ ALSO: How murdered judge Giovanni Falcone shaped Italy’s fight against the mafia

On July 19th, Borsellino was also killed in a car bomb attack, along with five members of his escort. Only his driver survived.

Falcone posed a real threat to Cosa Nostra, an organised crime group made famous by The Godfather trilogy, and which boasted access to the highest levels of Italian power.

He and Borsellino were later credited with revolutionising the understanding of the mafia, working closely with the first informants and compiling evidence for a groundbreaking ‘maxi-trial’ in which hundreds of mobsters were convicted in 1987.

“Thanks to Falcone and Borsellino, the Sicilian mafia became a notorious fact, not something that had to be proved to exist at every trial,” anti-mafia prosecutor Marzia Sabella told AFP.