NAPLES, Italy, April 15 (UPI) -- An Italian businessman and his wife were bludgeoned to death in their Naples home by burglars in an apparent home invasion, police say.
The deaths of Franco Ambrosio, 77, once known as "the Grain King" for his ownership of the Italgrani company, and his wife Giovanna Sacco were found beaten to death Wednesday at their villa in the exclusive Naples district of Posillipo, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
The pair, whom police theorized were surprised by their attackers, were beaten with a steel rod or something similar. Initial suspicion focused on gangs of Albanians and Romanians who specialize in robbing villas in the Naples area, ANSA reported.
Ambrosio's grain company at its height generated revenues of $1.5 billion but his business empire began to fall apart after he was arrested in 1994 on charges of defrauding the European Union out of $32 million via phantom wheat subsidies.
ANSA said he was later arrested for allegedly collecting kickbacks on behalf of his friend, former Christian Democrat budget minister Paolo Cirino Pomicino.