Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Gaetan "Tony" Zampa -Marseilles Godfather

In this day and age there is a subnormal culture, particularly in this country, that any street peddling drug pusher harbours the delusions that he is a "gangster" and does his "best" to try to live up to it.  You do read and hear about the villains who have operated at the top , in some cases, for decades but there are those are the real deal.  In France, where the ferocity of the criminal world, has long put Britain`s to shame, particularly in Paris and Corsica.  The best known outside France, was Jacques Mesrine, killed in a Police ambush in the latter 70`s.  One of the so-called "Godfathers" in Marseilles was Gaetan Zampa or Tony Z.  

    This long operating & powerful gangster was the son of a pimp.  Not an inspiring start, but his criminal career took off when he took up his father`s trade; pimp.  He came to the notice of one of the Pigalle crime syndicates, the Trois Canards, where he proved his worth by being as violent as anybody, in his role as an enforcer.  He  rose through the ranks of the Underworld, and owned nightclubs, and was in direct competition with Gilbert Hoareau.  This former hairdresser had become a major name in the slot machine business until a ban on them was brought introduced in 1983.  He built up a nightclub business in competition with Zampa.  This suave club owner was thought to have been involved in numerous major crimes including the St Gerard`s Day Massacre at the Bar Du Telephone, the murder of an investigative magistrate, other killings and attempted killings, the Nice Bank Robbery, and even part of the French Connection. His end came when he was arrested, along with his wife, for tax evasion and fraud.  He agreed to a deal with authorities that allowed his wife to go free and he was sent to Les Baumettes jail, where the regime was very tough.

    The prison contained his biggest and powerfulest enemy, Francis Vanverberghe, and being in close proximity to this greatly feared villain, probably led him to take his own life on July 23rd 1984, by hanging himself in his cell.  His rival, Hoareau had been murdered in 1983.  After Zampa`s death, a deadly war broke out between the dead men`s associates.  Hoareau lost a son, brother and nephew in the ensuing war.