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Monday, 7 July 2008

Rosario "Ross" Gangemi died of natural causes in a Melbourne hospital


17:27 |

The funeral of Rosario "Ross" Gangemi would probably have looked, and sounded, much the same if it had been held in his birthplace in Calabria, Italy, rather than in Moonee Ponds.More than 250 mourners attended the service on Monday, among them the high profile industrial negotiator and gangland figure Mick Gatto.Many of the congregation that packed St Monica's Catholic Church had also been seen at funerals well known to viewers of the Underbelly television series.But on Monday, their shirt buttons were done up to the neck, ties were neatly in place and proper homage was shown for a man who had almost no public profile, but who commanded plenty of quiet respect.A steady stream of limousines delivered those who remain of the generations of Italians who did their business, whatever it was, without ostentation.Small men in cashmere overcoats over dark suits kissed cheeks as they arrived and moved into the church, the most senior taking the reserved seats nearest the front.Gangemi was one of the most influential members of the Calabrian Mafia - the 'Ndrangheta - in Victoria.Since his death, his links to Melbourne's Benvenuto family which once ran the criminal rackets that flourished at the city's fruit and vegetable market, have been revealed.Frank Benvenuto, son of the former "Godfather" Liborio Benvenuto, was one of the 20-plus victims of Melbourne's recent underworld murder spree.Australian police believe Gangemi was instrumental in extortion at the markets and Italian police implicated him in the 1963 murder of Melbourne underworld figure Vincente Angilletta.Gangemi died of natural causes in a Melbourne hospital last Saturday week.


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