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THE GAMBLING GODFATHER'S GOFER GETS A pounds 42k PAYOUT; Manager wins sacking case.

Byline: By Joanne Curran

A HOTEL manager fired after gangsters went to his boss's home and made threats over gambling debts has won his unfair sacking case.

Italian Luigi Gustinelli, of Motherwell, was awarded more than pounds 42,000 after being fired from the plush Bothwell Bridge Hotel.

He told a tribunal he and his boss Luigi Martalo often borrowed money together to gamble.

Martalo, he said, would send him to moneylenders because Martalo - dubbed "the Godfather" - wanted to hide his borrowing from wife and business partner Rita.

Gustinelli, banqueting and restaurant manager at the Lanarkshire hotel, answered directly to MrsMartalo at work.

Gustinelli and Martalo borrowed pounds 7500 in 2004 from a moneylender.

They had to repay a man, known as Harry, pounds 10,000, with each man paying half the total sum. Gustinelli cleared his share by early 2007. In November that year, Martalo called Gustinelli and instructed him to give Harry an envelope containing pounds 10,000.

Martalo owed pounds 16,500 at this point but thought pounds 10,000 would keep the loan shark off his back.

The night before he phoned Gustinelli, Martalo had been visited at home by Harry and two other men. His family had been frightened by the incident. Martalo told wife Rita that Gustinelli had told the moneylenders the Martalos would guarantee the debt. She sacked the restaurant manager.

The tribunal heard Martalo had falsely blamed his manager for several of his own previous debts in a bid to hide his problems from Rita.

Tribunal judge Lucy Crone said it seemed Martalo would say anything to keep the truth of his borrowing and gambling from Mrs Martalo.

The Martalos were ordered to pay Gustinelli pounds 42,514 compensation.

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UPMARKET: The plush Bothwell Bridge Hotel
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 3, 2009
Words:295
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