_
_
_
_

Vendetta party against fiancée shakes up Italian high society: ‘Go off with your lawyer’

Massimo Segre, a well-known banker, has ended his relationship with Cristina Seymandi, in a public speech in front of all of their friends. Now the businesswoman, who has described her public humiliation as an act of ‘abhorrent violence,’ is considering legal action

Massimo Segre (r) and Cristina Seymandi in an image on social media.
Massimo Segre (r) and Cristina Seymandi in an image on social media.

Italian banker Massimo Segre organized a party in the garden of his mansion — one of the most famous villas in the city of Turin — to celebrate the birthday of his fiancée, Cristina Seymandi. He invited dozens of friends and prepared everything down to the smallest detail: the atmosphere, the music, the food and the speech. But his speech was not what guests were expecting, but rather a fiery tirade in which he broke up with Seymandi and accused her of cheating. The video of the speech — which has gone viral on social media — has shocked Italian high society and could end up in court.

At one point in the evening, Segre approached the DJ booth, picked up the microphone and cleared his throat. Everyone thought that he was going to toast Seymandi. Indeed, it began like a normal speech. The banker thanked his friends for coming, confessed that he was a little nervous, and even received some applause. But then the tone change, and a chill went through the party.

“I have always thought that loving a person is wishing the best for them, even more than for yourself. In this case, I want to give Cristina the freedom to love. Specifically, to love another person, a well-known lawyer,” he said without blinking. At his side, with a bouquet of flowers in her hands, Seymandi looked at him incredulously.

“Dear Cristina, I know how mentally and sexually in love you are with him, as you have confided in him,” Segre continued. “And I know that before him, you were in a relationship with a well-known industrialist,” he snapped. “Do not think that I am pleased to look like a cuckold in front of all of you,” he continued, addressing the guests.

The banker went on to accuse Seymandi of cheating and lying, exposing the couple’s dirty laundry to a room full of nearly 100 people. “She is so good at telling her truths, that I could not let her be the only one to explain why I am ending our relationship tonight,” said Segre. “Dear Cristina, go to Mykonos with your lawyer. Be happy with him, it’s all paid for, just like the trip to Vietnam.”

Segre also reproached his fiancée for having turned him against his children from a previous marriage, to the astonishment of the guests, who became upset that they had been roped into attending a party only aimed at vengeance.

It is unclear who recorded or leaked the five-minute video of the speech, but it has since gone viral on social media and made headlines in the press. Segre and Seymandi have also exchanged accusations in the Italian media. Segre’s decision to share the sordid details of their relationship in such a public way has shocked the country.

Seymandi says she is a victim of “gender violence,” and is considering legal action. The 47-year-old businesswoman described her public humiliation as an act of “abhorrent violence,” and pointed out how Segre had meticulously planned the perverse surprise — he even hired four bodyguards to accompany him when he left the party.

“When he started talking, I thought it was a joke. Then I was petrified. It was an act of abhorrent violence. Not to mention the comments on social networks with obscene words and phrases. If the same thing had happened but with the roles reversed, the reactions would have been very different. But I am a woman, and in this world, that makes a big difference,” she told the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera.

“He could have sought to have a conversation with me. Perhaps we would have come to the same conclusions, but in a completely different way. He preferred to do this, to throw it all away, causing so much pain to everyone, and I don’t understand why. Serious matters are not solved this way,” continued Seymando, who added: “I want to make it clear that freedom is not granted to me, but rather it is my inalienable right as a person and as a woman.”

Until now, Seymandi and Segre were only known in limited finance and political circles. Seymandi is the daughter of a well-known Turin accountant, and well-connected to the Turin upper class. She is a political enthusiast: Seymadi worked with the former mayor of Turin, Chiara Appendino, from the 5-Star Movement. And she is a businesswoman, working as the managing director of one of Segre’s companies. The 47-year-old confessed that she won’t be able to completely cut ties with Segre, as they will have to continue working together. Segre, 64, is an accountant, businessman and banker from Turin, who comes from a well-connected family, with links to the financial elites of northern Italy.

In response to the criticism, Segre published a letter defending his actions in the Turin newspaper La Stampa. “There is no violence in telling the truth publicly,” he wrote. “Reporting that Mrs. Seymandi, before marrying me, had other romantic relationships is not violence: it is a fact.”

Segre also clarified that when he talked about Seymandi’s “freedom,” he was referring to her “freedom to love.” “Exactly three years ago, when I slipped my mother’s sapphire onto Cristina’s finger, asking her to marry me and obtaining her consent, I was no longer free to love others and so it should have been for her. This was the pact we sealed with my family’s ring.”

The banker said he decided to publicly end the relationship to “protect himself” from his fiancée’s possible lies. “I tried to explain it succinctly that night: Mrs. Seymandi is so adept at telling her own vision of reality that I absolutely had to preserve my reputation, the greatest gift my parents left me. The only way to avoid distorted, if not totally fanciful, narratives, was to take the initiative in front of all her friends, before she could say who knows what about me if I left her privately,” he wrote.

The Italian Data Protection Authority has opened an investigation into whether there was possible breach of personal data during the party in Turin, according to local media. Psychologists and anthropologists have also commented on why the case has attracted so much attention. “Private vices smeared in public, sex and high society: could this betrayal be ignored? It is pure Italian comedy,” said anthropologist Marino Niola. “Italy is a Latin country: family-orientated, virile, macho. We are a society of honor and not of guilt: betrayal, for a person, means not having their reputation respected. In certain cultures, I’m thinking of the Sicilian culture, talking about someone being cuckolded is the highest offense. Worse than other offenses.”

Some have even compared the drama to the breakup of Colombian singer Shakira and Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué. “[Segre] publicly humiliated his girlfriend at her birthday party. [Shakira] wrote a song that tarnished the reputation of the man who cheated on her: are we sure the two cases are not alike?” asked Vanity Fair magazine. “The mechanism is basically the same: take revenge for the partner’s betrayals by exposing them in public to gain empathy and understanding from others.”

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition


More information

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
_
_