NEWS
09/19/2011 01:35 EDT | Updated 11/19/2011 05:12 EST

Brother of late boxer Arturo Gatti says he wants fortune left to kids

MONTREAL - Arturo Gatti's younger brother wants the late boxer's son and daughter to inherit what is left of his estate — but is adamant his widow should get nothing for herself.

Testifying in a civil case that has the Gatti clan battling in one corner and widow Amanda Rodrigues in the other, Fabrizio Gatti said Monday he's unwilling to believe his brother committed suicide in July 2009.

A will Arturo Gatti, 37, signed just three weeks before his death in a Brazilian resort town left everything to Rodrigues.

"Every day I think about my brother and can't accept what happened," Fabrizio Gatti testified.

"I believe he was murdered, not suicide."

Rodrigues has a will signed in Quebec that leaves everything to her and makes no mention of Gatti's daughter, Sofia, from a previous relationship.

The Gatti family contends a 2007 will drafted in New Jersey that leaves the estate to his mother and Sofia should be recognized. That will leaves nothing to his son, Arturo Jr., born a year later.

But nobody can find a signed copy of the previous will.

Fabrizio Gatti said he looked everywhere for it — including in New Jersey where he believes part of Arturo Gatti's estate is sitting in a storage locker that can't be found.

But he denied ever looking for the document in the Montreal condo Arturo Gatti shared with his wife.

''Do you realize how hard it is to believe this? You're looking everywhere for his will and you don't go to his residence," said Justice Claudine Roy.

Roy estimated recently the estate is worth about $3.4 million.

By the time Rodrigues returned from Brazil in November 2009, items were missing and presumed stolen, including home entertainment equipment, clothes and jewelry.

Pressed on whether he knew what had happened to these items, Fabrizio Gatti said he didn't and added that his brother was known to give stuff away frequently.

Asked about a missing safe and jewelry, the brother denied taking anything.

"The last time I saw (Arturo) with his jewelry, he went to Brazil," Gatti said. "And he came back naked in a box."

The civil case in Montreal has been overshadowed by events outside the courtroom: a wrongful death suit filed in New Jersey that has frozen the boxer's assets; the results of a private probe calling his death a homicide; and Brazilian authorities giving the investigation into his death a second look.

Next weekend, "48 Hours Mystery", an hour-long program on CBS, is broadcasting an episode devoted to Gatti's death.

Fabrizio Gatti reiterated that the family doesn't want any of the fortune.

"I want to make it clear that we didn't love my brother for his money," he said.

"No one should have it (the money) but the kids."

Fabrizio Gatti said he'd be open to Arturo Jr. getting the same as Gatti's other child —child support, a home that is paid for, and money set aside for education.

Sofia Gatti's mother gets $4,600 US a month until the girl reaches adulthood. There is also $100,000 set aside for post-secondary education. Whatever is left would be split between the children equally.

Fabrizio Gatti said he believes Rodrigues should get nothing and that she'd spend it all on herself and her family.

"After what she put my brother through, no she doesn't deserve it," Fabrizio Gatti said.

The fortune is quickly disappearing and while reports initially pegged it at more than twice the $3.4 million, Roy made it clear Gatti was never worth that much.

She has expressed concern there might not be much left eventually because of the ongoing legal battles in New Jersey, Montreal and Florida.

Fabrizio Gatti found himself on the hot seat after a discovery that many of Arturo Gatti's personal effects — including personal documents, tax returns and bills — were in his mother's basement.

He was aware of the items — all are part of the estate — but never mentioned them to his lawyer.

Fabrizio Gatti admitted he may have destroyed some of his late brother's mail while collecting it in the months following his death. Some of the documents were important to his estate.

"I should have mentioned it but I was angry about the situation," an apologetic Gatti said.

He also testified that the family saw Arturo Jr. for the first time since 2009 this past weekend.

The uncle admitted he'd made no real effort to see his nephew, simply assuming that Rodrigues would deny access.

The visit was organized after a sobbing Rodrigues told the court last week that Ida Gatti, Arturo's mother, could see the boy whenever she wanted.

Fabrizio Gatti told the court he went to a toy store to get some presents for the boy.

"It was fun, we missed Junior a lot, he has his father's eyes," Fabrizio Gatti said as Rodrigues' eyes welled with tears.