Italian ‘prince’ is recorded boasting of killing

By Tony Barber in Rome, SEPTEMBER 15 2006

As if allegations involving illegal gambling and prostitution were not enough, Vittorio Emanuele, the son of Italy’s last king, is now in even deeper trouble.

In conversations secretly bugged by prosecutors, the prince is said to have admitted killing a man and to have called the magistrates investigating him “penniless, envious turds”.

A judge in the southern Italian city of Potenza last week quoted Vittorio Emanuele, 69, as telling a prison cellmate that he had shot Dirk Hamer, a 19-year-old German, on a yacht near the French island of Corsica in 1978. Vittorio Emanuele made his alleged remarks in June during a brief spell in prison, before he was placed under house arrest on suspicion of corrupt business deals involving illegal gambling machines and the recruitment of eastern European prostitutes.

Prosecutors looking into these charges taped and transcribed his conversations. Rocco Pavese, the Potenza judge, cited the transcripts in court to explain his decision to refuse the prince permission to leave Italy while he remains under investigation.

Hamer was shot in August 1978 while on a Mediterranean boat trip with his sister Birgit, a former Miss Germany, and some Italian friends.

Vittorio Emanuele was tried in France for Hamer’s killing, but a Paris court acquitted him in 1991 of unintentional homicide and convicted him only of unauthorised possession of a rifle.

According to the transcripts, Vittorio Emanuele described the shooting in detail to his cellmate. “I was in the wrong, but I conned those French judges . . .  I let off a shot like this, and another one which was lower, but the bullet went in this direction and hit him [Hamer] in the leg . . . ”

The transcripts also quote him as saying, in a telephone call while he was under house arrest, that the magistrates probing his business affairs were “penniless, envious turds whose wives are probably cheating on them while they keep tabs on me all day”.

Filippo Bruno di Tornaforte, a spokesman for the prince, said Vittorio Emanuele was “indignant” about the tapping of his conversations and had “the gravest doubts” about the transcripts’ contents because “their sense was altered”.

However, Bernd Hamer, the dead man’s brother, wrote a letter this week to Giorgio Napolitano, Italy’s head of state, in which he said: “Vittorio Emanuele is boasting about having killed Dirk and corrupted French justice. We, Dirk’s family, ask that Vittorio Emanuele be put on trial in Italy for Dirk’s homicide.”


Even Vittorio Emanuele is no stranger to phone taps. When arrested in June, the Italian media quoted him as telling a business associate in a tapped conversation to “give a good slapping” to a prostitute who had received money from him.


We also publish public media reports because we want to document how ruthlessly they lied about Dr. Hamer and the murder of his son Dirk. We recommend reading the documents in our online archive and the book "Einer gegen alle" (One Against All).