Mick Gatto

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Mick Gatto
Born Domenic Gatto
(1955-08-06) 6 August 1955 (age 63)
Nationality Italian-Australian
Occupation Businessman; mediator; debt collector; event promoter
Spouse(s) Cheryle Gatto
Notes

Domenic "Mick" Gatto (born 6 August 1955) is an Italian-Australian businessman, widely suspected to be involved in the Melbourne underworld. Gatto is a professional mediator within the Victorian building industry; and a debt collector. Gatto was named as a standover man during the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry.[1]

Background and early years[edit]

The son of two Calabrian immigrants, Gatto was raised in Melbourne and commenced working in the fruit and vegetable industry.[1] A former boxer,[5] in the 1980s and 1990s, Gatto was involved in Melbourne's illegal gambling scene.[3] In 2004 Gatto was given a ten-year gaming ban, subsequently increased to a life ban.[5]

Murder acquittal[edit]

In 2004 Gatto was charged with the murder of Andrew Veniamin, a suspected underworld hitman. Gatto was remanded in custody for 18 months. He was found not guilty at trial, during which Gatto claimed he had acted in self-defence[5] after Veniamin pulled out a .38 and threatened to kill him. Gatto claimed that during a struggle he was able to turn the gun around on Veniamin and fire one shot into his neck, and one shot in the eye. He also claimed that during the argument, Veniamin had implicated himself in the deaths of Dino Dibra, Paul Kallipolitis and Graham Kinniburgh.[6]

At the time of charging Vince Benvenuto with the 2002 murder of Victor Peirce, it was alleged that Gatto had links to both men and to Faruk Orman,[7] the man later convicted of Pierce's murder. No charges were laid against Gatto.[8]

Other matters[edit]

In proceedings before the Cole Royal Commission, it was heard that Gatto was involved in resolving certain business disputes. Witnesses attested that Gatto and his business associate, David "the Rock" Hedgcock, had been involved in solving industrial relations problems in the construction industry. One witness, a representative of Baulderstone Hornibrook expressed the fears of a colleague stating, "...he expressed some concerns about his safety, that people associated with this deal were the sorts of people that break legs..." Gatto and Hedgcock's solicitor rejected any implication they had used threats or intimidation. Appearing before the Royal Commission in 2002, Gatto claimed he was being made a scapegoat by the inquiry and strenuously denied he was a standover man.[9]

"I'm not a standover man. I'm not a man off ill repute. Fair enough I've got a chequered past....bit I paid for...whatever I have done wrong. I don't appreciate this nonsense that you are looking for someone to blame to justify your existence here today., to justify 300 investigators and teams of lawyers. You won't be justifying your existence with me. I promise you. I will fight you all the way, tooth and nail.

— Mick Gatto, before the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry, 28 February 2002.

In 2016, Gatto was charged with possession of an unregistered firearm and of possession of a firearm and ammunition without a licence.[10]

A former boxing promoter, the Napthine government withdrew his fight promotional licence.[5] In 2014 Gatto claimed that he had raised over $4.5 million for charity over ten years.[5] In 2017 it was alleged that Gatto was involved in assisting with resolution of matters involving Stephen Dank and the Essendon Football Club supplements controversy.[11]

In April 2017 it was reported that Gatto settled a long-running dispute with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). It was claimed that Gatto and his family owed the ATO $15 million; and both parties agreed to settle the matter for less than $4 million. It was reported that in order to pay the ATO, Gatto sold his Lower Plenty home for $4.1 milion.[12] Gatto and his family also own a residence at Mount Martha, on the Mornington Peninsula.[13]

Published works[edit]

  • Gatto, Mick; Noble, Tom (2009). I, Mick Gatto. Melbourne University Publishing. ISBN 978-0-522-85701-6. 

In popular culture[edit]

In the Australian TV drama series Underbelly based on the Melbourne gangland killings, Gatto was portrayed by actor Simon Westaway, and in the second series, by Luke McKenzie.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Munro, Ian (24 March 2004). "Gatto emerges reluctantly from the shadows". The Age. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  2. ^ Carbone, Suzanne; Money, Lawrence (8 November 2005). "Gatto hits headlines in Noosa". The Age. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  3. ^ a b McKenzie, Nick (8 October 2007). "The Master Networker". The Age. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  4. ^ Davey, Melissa (17 March 2015). "Mick Gatto launches debt collection agency for horse racing industry". Guardian Australia. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Bowles, Robin (25 October 2014). "Professional hardman Mick Gatto's gangland style". The Saturday Paper. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  6. ^ Russell, Mark (9 June 2005). "Lawyers, guns and Gatto". The Age. 
  7. ^ McKenzie, Nick; Hagan, Kate (14 July 2008). "Heat on Gatto as man charged with Peirce murder". Farm Online. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  8. ^ Iaria, Melissa (25 November 2009). "Getaway driver in Victor Peirce murder jailed for 20 years". Adelaide Now. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  9. ^ "Dominic "Mick" Gatto". Melbourne Crime: A journey into the Melbourne underworld. Crime Writers Association of Australia. Archived from the original on 2 July 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  10. ^ Cooper, Adam; Vedelago, Chris (20 May 2016). "Mick Gatto leaves court in black Rolls-Royce". The Age. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  11. ^ "Essendon deny reports club reached out to Mick Gatto during doping scandal". Guardian Australia. Australian Associated Press. 9 March 2017. 
  12. ^ Vedelago, Chris; Houston, Cameron (26 April 2017). "Gatto settles $15m tax bill for less than $4m". The Age. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  13. ^ Vedelago, Chris; Houston, Cameron; Mills, Tammy (12 February 2016). "Homes of underworld figure Mick Gatto raided in Melbourne". The Age. Retrieved 27 April 2018.