Edoardo Agnelli

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Edoardo Agnelli
Edoardo Agnelli in Jumu'ah prayer in Tehran.jpg
Edoardo (Mahdi) Agnelli
Born (1954-06-09) 9 June 1954 (age 65)
Died15 November 2000(2000-11-15) (aged 46)
Alma materAtlantic College, Princeton University
OccupationDirector of Juventus football club in 1986
Years active1954-2000

Edoardo Agnelli (9 June 1954 – 15 November 2000) was the eldest child and only son of Marella Agnelli (born Donna Marella Caracciolo di Castagneto) and Gianni Agnelli, the industrialist patriarch of Fiat.[1] He converted to Islam when he was living in New York,[2] and then he met Ruhollah Khomeini and converted to Shia Islam and changed his name to "Mahdi".[2][3][4] In mid-November 2000, He was found dead under mysterious circumstances under a bridge on the outskirts of Turin.[1][4]


Agnelli was born in New York to Italian parents (his maternal grandmother was American). His mother, Marella Agnelli, and his father, Gianni Agnelli, married in 1953.[5] Edoardo Agnelli had one sister, Margherita Agnelli de Pahlen.[5] He had studied at Atlantic College, and he read modern literature and oriental philosophy at Princeton University.[6] Edoardo's sister, Margherita Agnelli, first marriage was with Elkan Allan, the son of a rich Jewish family.[4] She divorced Elkan while they have four childs.[4]

After leaving Princeton he traveled in India, pursuing his interest in oriental religion and mysticism,[6] and Iran. According to La Repubblica Agnelli's preoccupations became increasingly erratic, "Mysticism, Franciscanism, Buddhism, lectures against Capital, praise of the poor, criticism of the behavior of Fiat.[7] He was against materialism which made him move in a different direction, according to The Guardian.[8]

As an adult Agnelli claimed to be the heir apparent to the Fiat empire, but his father, who had already been unhappy with Edoardo's timidity when he was a child, ensured that he would not inherit it.[9] The only official position which the younger Agnelli held in the family businesses was as a director of Juventus football club,[10] in which capacity he was present at the Heysel disaster.[11][4]

His opinion was against capitalist politicians and he spoke against Fiat company in some interviews. He tried to support the vulnerable people of the community, and even stressed his unwillingness to take the Fiat company leadership. He expressed his interest for keeping his studies on religions and theology. Also, he wrote a letter to France president, François Mitterrand, and criticized the role of French foreign policy in the Yugoslav war.[4]

In 1990 he was accused for heroin possession[12] but the charges were later dropped.[13] Belinda Rachman, a college student and friend of Edoardo, said: "I was hearing some rumors about Edoardo that he is using drugs or he once arrested in Africa for drug trafficking. But all were rumors and I never met anyone who can confirm or ignore these rumors."[4] She added, "Edoardo was not selfish. His family was rich and actually, he was son of an Italian royal family. But his thoughts and lifestyle did not show an usual rich people's lifestyle. Eduardo didn't have close friends. He was very funny. He was very clever, calm and silent."[4]

Behzad Daneshgar, an Iranian novelist, wrote a biographical novels about the life and death of Edoardo Agnelli which named "Edoardo". The book had a good reflection among readers during the thirty-second Tehran International Book Fair and about 10,000 copies of the book were sold.[14]

Converting to Islam[edit]

Eduardo said about his initial acquaintance with Islam: "I was walking in a library and looking at books that I saw the Quran book. I was curious to find what came in the Quran, so I picked it up and started to reading it. I was impressed by Quran and it was clear and logistic for me, I understood and accepted it words."[4]

When Edoardo's parents found their son was converting to Islam, threatened him and told him that he will lose the family's inheritance. Agnelli's family tried to show their son as a lunatic, so sent him to a psychiatric hospital. According to Tasnim news, most of the hospital's employees was Jewish, and Edoardo escaped from the hospital for fear of brainwash.[4]

According to Iran, Agnelli converted to Islam in an Islamic center in New York where he was named "Hisham Aziz".[2] Then he met Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was reported to have converted to Shia Islam.[3] According to Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri Abyaneh, Agnelli declared faith to Fakhroddein Hejazi and became a Shia Muslim and was named "Mahdi".[2] He said, "One day while I was in New York, I was walking in a library and Quran caught my glimpse. I was curious about what was in it. I started reading it in English and I felt that those words were holy words and cannot be the words of men. I was really touched and borrowed the book and studied it further and I felt like I was understanding it and I believed it." [15]


In 15 November 2000, 46-year-old Agnelli's body was found, near Turin, on a river bed beneath a motorway viaduct, on which his car was found too.[6] The viaduct is known as the bridge of suicides.[16] According to a report by Marco Ellena, the doctor from the public health office of nearby city, Cuneo, who examined Edoardo's body, "he died because of deadly wounds after having fallen 80 meters.[17] Also the reports said, he was alive when his body impacted with the ground.[17] His head, face and chest was damaged because of his fallen and an autopsy detected some internal injuries which Proved his fall hypothesis.[17] Nothing was unusual in his death scene and police didn't find anything in his car, phones, cigarette, walking stick, address book and bottle of water.[17] His conversion to Islam and fast process of his funeral started some rumors about his suicide.[17] The court had done an investigation about the death case and the "unknown person" who may participated in the murder hypothesis.[17] Finally, Riccardo Bausone, the public prosecutor who was working on Edoardo's case, closed the death case and concluded his death as a suicide case.[17][18]

According to Marco Bava, a financial analyst and friend of Edoardo Agnelli, Agnelli would never have committed suicide and he would leave a note to justify his action, if he suicided. Giuseppe Puppo, a journalist, has addressed some obscure points regarding the death of Angelli in his book "Eighty meters of mystery" where he has conducted an investigation into Angelli's death using interviews and unpublished testimonies. Giuseppe Puppo regards some of the points as inconsistencies and oddities: the absence of the bodyguards of Edoardo Agnelli; the interval of two hours between leaving home and arriving on the Fossano viaduct; the cameras of the Agnelli, whose images have never been seen; the telephone traffic on the two phones; the total absence of witnesses along a road section which recorded at least eight cars per minute passage, at that time and the lack of fingerprints on the car; the hurried burial without autopsy.[19] [17]

Giuseppe Popou, an Italian journalist and writer, published a book about Edoardo's death in 2009, and wrote: "It is hard to believe that Edoardo climbed the birdge way, with his foot situation, and no one saw him. It was at least two minutes walking in a busy highway. He was falled from 80 meters height, but his belt and his shoes wristband were close in death scene." Popou claimed, he had riceved some informations that show Edoardo was forced to sign a document, a few weeks before his death, that he gives all of his rights at the Fiat company in exchange for a large amount of money and assets, but Eduardo rejected it.[4]

Edoardo's speeches before his death have denied any possibility of suicide by Edoardo. Now, and after the death of Edoardo, the wealth of the Agnelli family is under control of the Elkan family.[4] According to Tasnim News, in the last days of December 2000, four Iranian documentaries arrested by Rome's police when they were filming in Vatican. The documentary film was about the mysterious death of Edoardo. They spent two days of arrest and finally sent to the Iranian embassy for returning to Iran. After Edoardo's death, all the documents and related information to his activities and life, exception some confidential documents, removed from the archives of the Italian's television channel one.[4]

Edoardo was buried next his cousin Giovannino in his family vault, in the cemetery perched above the immaculate grounds of the agnelli family villa.[17] Edoardo enshrined at the Museum of Martyrs of Islam at Imam Sadiq University, Iran, which contains a portrait-shrine dedicated to him.[20] A 2001 Iranian documentary film stated that Edoardo was murdered by capitalist mercenaries.[20][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Whittaker, Malcolm. "Fiat magnate Agnelli's only son found dead at Bridge of Suicides". The Independent. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Staff writers (2012). "Who was edoardo and how he converted to Islam". Mashreghnews. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b "The curse of inheritance: Do wealthy dynasties always make for happy heirs?". Belfast Telegraph. 19 July 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "روایت شهادت «ادواردو آنیلی»؛ شاهزاده میلیاردر ایتالیا + عکس و فیلم". tasnimnews.com. Tasnimnews. 16 November 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Marella Agnelli, Italian symbol of elegance and beauty, dies at 91". washingtonpost.com. washingtonpost. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Johnston, Bruce (19 June 2001). "Fiat chief's son dies in viaduct plunge". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  7. ^ Aspesi, Natalia (16 November 2000). "Edoardo Agnelli, una vita fragile". La Repubblica. Rome. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  8. ^ Philip, Willan (15 November 2000). "Suicide suspected after Fiat heir found dead". Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  9. ^ a b Farnham, Alan (10 September 1990). "THE CHILDREN OF THE RICH & FAMOUS". CNN. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  10. ^ "Fiat family's search for an heir". Sunday Business. 26 November 2000. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  11. ^ Darby, Paul; Johnes, Martin; Mello, Gavin (2005). Soccer and Disaster. Routledge. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-7146-5352-5.
  12. ^ "TYCOON'S SON PLEADS". Post-Gazette. 23 September 1990. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  13. ^ "Death of a family firm?". The Sunday Business Post. 3 December 2000. Archived from the original on 2006-04-26. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  14. ^ Shariatmadari, Parto (17 May 2019). "Iran's burgeoning 'resistance literature': A new front?". al-monitor.com. al-monitor. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  15. ^ "هدیه مسیح؛ سیری در زندگی ادواردو آنیلی". Rasa News.
  16. ^ August, Melissa; Bower, Amanda; Cooper, Matthew; Frank, Steven; Keliher, MacAbe; Minhua, Ling; Martens, Ellin; Orecklin, Michele; Rawe, Julie; Song, Sora; Tyrangiel, Josh (27 November 2000). "Milestones". Time. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i Clark, Jennifer. Mondo Agnelli: Fiat, Chrysler, and the Power of a Dynasty. John Wiley & Sons. p. 384. ISBN 9781118236116. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  18. ^ "Fiat Magnate's Son Found Dead".
  19. ^ Staff writer. "Interview with Dr. Marco Bava, a friend of Edoardo Agnelli". Cogitoergo (in Italian). Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Edoardo Agnelli was a Shiite Martyr". Corriere della Sera. 11 November 2005. Retrieved 2009-03-01.