Pantani case closed by investigating judge after two-year process

The Rimini-based inquiry into the death of Marco Pantani has been closed, with Vincio Cantarini, the investigating judge, dismissing claims that the Italian cyclist had been murdered as “a fantastical hypothesis, mere conjecture”.

On Monday, the investigating judge archived a murder theory case opened two years ago by the cyclist’s parents, citing a lack of proof.

Pantani died on February 14, 2004, at the age of 34 in a Rimini hotel. The original police work showed that he overdosed on cocaine.

“Neither the news of crime nor the existence of investigations brought about at least one name of a possible suspect different from the ones already prosecuted or a hypothetical motive,” La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper reported that Prosecutor Paolo Giovagnoli said.

Investigating Judge Vinicio Cantarini ordered the case closed after it was pushed opened in July 2014 by Paolo and Tonina Pantani. They argued that men forced their way into Pantani’s hotel room along the eastern coast, beat him and forced him to drink water diluted with lethal amounts of cocaine.

Pantani, however, was found alone in his Le Rose hotel room with the door locked and blocked with furniture from the inside. The cyclist also had a cocaine problem, overdosing four times in 2003.

Giovagnoli said last year in court documents: “The results show his death depended solely on his own actions, so as to consider it more likely than not a voluntary suicide death caused accidentally by a voluntary excessive intake of cocaine.”

The original 2005 case found three men guilty of supplying the cocaine that killed Pantani. Fabio Carlino arranged the final 30 grams of cocaine that killed Pantani, Fabio Miradossa took the order in Naples and gave the cocaine to Ciro Veneruso. Veneruso delivered it from Naples to Pantani.

In 2005, Miradossa bargained for a four-year, 10-month prison sentence and Veneruso for three years, 10 months. The courts sentenced Carlino in 2008 to four years, six months in prison, and ordered him to pay €19,000 in fines and €300,000 in compensation to Pantani’s family. In 2011, Italy’s highest court of dropped charges against Carlino.