MONTREAL – Amanda Rodrigues Gatti has been living under a cloud of controversy for close to four years.
In July 2009, she was arrested for the murder of her famous husband, Montreal boxer Arturo Gatti. He was a junior welterweight champion who retired in 2007 with a career record of 40 wins and nine losses.
The arrest came after 37-year-old Gatti was found dead on July 11 in an apartment while vacationing with his wife and son at the seaside resort of Porto de Galihnas in Pernambuco, Brazil.
His widow was released from jail after an investigation by Brazilian authorities ruled that Gatti’s death was a suicide.
Rodrigues Gatti was then embroiled in a nasty court battle with her in-laws in over Gatti’s $3.4 million estate. In December 2011, she was awarded millions of dollars and moved back to Brazil.
Now, she would like to put the last four years of murder accusations and estate battles behind her.
“I had to go through many accusations, painful names I had to hear, that was not easy,” she admitted.
In an exclusive interview, she told Global News that she returned to Montreal in May last year to rent out her apartment and take care of loose ends. Rodrigues Gatti has since decided to stay in Montreal, because she says she realized that she loves the city.
She has set up shop in Montreal, where she recently opened a new store called Boutique AG – the Amanda Gatti Boutique – on trendy St. Denis Street.
“I have to say, I’ve learned how to love Montreal,” Rodrigues Gatti told Global News.
But friends of the late boxer are concerned that the 26-year-old is at it again, starting a new controversy.
“That’s a real, real, real, helluva move on her part,” said retired boxing champion Otis ‘Magic’ Grant, who now owns a boxing gym in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, where he coaches and manages amateur boxing events.
“The fact that she came back to Montreal, to set up and live for life, is real . . . gutsy,” said Grant.
The young widow has called her new fashion boutique a dream come true and noted that she has designed every item in it.
“It makes me feel very happy, because like I said, it was made with a lot of energy, it’s good energy, a lot of love you know.”
Her four-year-old son Arturo Junior is the other reason she has chosen to live in the city, which she described as beautiful and safe.
“I’m in a place in my life that is so peaceful that nothing bothers me, as long as my son is smiling every day, I’m happy,” she said.
Rodrigues Gatti said that she has everything she wants, except family.
In the exclusive interview with Global News, she has extended a hand of friendship to Arturo Gatti’s mother. She said she would like her mother-in-law to put aside her suspicions and become a part of her life.
However, Ida Gatti, Arturo’s mother told Global News that she is afraid to be in the same room as her daughter-in-law. She is worried that Rodrigues Gatti could falsely accuse her of assault.
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Although Rodrigues Gatti says she’s in Montreal to stay, Paul Ciolino, a Chicago-based Brazilian private investigator hired by Gatti’s former manager, Pat Lynch, believes she will soon be on a plane to Brazil to face justice.
When private investigators working for Gatti’s family first introduced evidence they claimed showed the boxer’s death was a homicide, Gatti’s family requested an independent autopsy in Quebec. The autopsy report, released in November 2011, revealed that there was no clear evidence of foul play in Mr. Gatti’s death. The report concluded that although Gatti died what was described as a “violent death,” the cause was listed as asphyxiation by neck. The coroner admitted there was no “clear and hard evidence” that a third party was involved in his death and was also critical of Brazilian authorities, suggesting they had mishandled evidence at the scene of Gatti’s death.
Private Investigator Paul Ciolino told Global News that now new evidence has turned up, which he claims points to Rodrigues Gatti as a suspect. He alleges that a bribe was paid to hide evidence and says that’s why Rodrigues Gatti was released by Brazilian police.
Rodrigues Gatti denies these allegations.
Ciolino claims the original lead investigator looking into Arturo Gatti’s death has confessed on tape that evidence at the scene was destroyed and alleges that bribes were offered.
“I think Arturo Gatti will get the justice he deserves,” Ciolino told Global News. He added that he “thinks that Amanda Rodrigues will be arrested, and I think the truth will eventually come out this year.”
Rodrigues Gatti maintains her innocence. She insists her husband committed suicide and she called detective Paul Ciolino a liar.
“I really, really don’t care about anything that comes out of his mouth, and about his idea, I really don’t care.”
The Pernambuco prosecutor’s office in Brazil has confirmed that a court hearing has been scheduled for March and that the prosecutor looking into the Gatti case could launch a new investigation.
“The prosecutor will be proceed about the case in the beginning of March,” Gilvan Oliveira, spokesperson for Prosecutors Office in Pernambuco told Global News. “Prosecutor Paula Catherine Ismail is studying the process. I think she will request more tests, more investigation about the crime . . . it’s a big process.”
Rodrigues Gatti said the only things on her mind are taking care of her store and her son.
“I have nothing to hide, I can live anywhere in the world, and I can walk with my head up.”