Mafia Author to Flee Italy After 'Death by Christmas' Threats

An anti-mafia prosecutor investigating a reported mob death threat against a best-selling author said Wednesday that an informant now denies having claimed there was a plot.

Journalist Roberto Saviano, author of the crime expose "Gomorra," however, took the report seriously enough to write in the daily La Repubblica on Wednesday that he will go abroad "at least for a while" to escape threats of the Naples-based Camorra crime syndicate.

"I want a life," Saviano wrote. "I didn't think that a book — just a book— could cause such an earthquake."

Prosecutor Franco Roberti, head of the anti-mafia unit in Naples, had said Tuesday that the unit was looking into an informant's claim that the Camorra crime syndicate was planning to kill Saviano by December.

"We are investigating to verify how true the claim is," Roberti said by telephone Tuesday.

But on Wednesday Roberti said the person who apparently was the source of the information now told him he never mentioned any such plot.

Roberti said the information would not have been recorded, and added that he would investigate how the claim had been attributed to the informant.

The alleged plot was widely reported in the Italian media, but it is now unclear if any such threat existed.

Saviano has been under police protection since 2006 when the book denouncing the Camorra's hold on everything from the garment industry to drug running to waste disposal, became a best-seller in Italy. The book was the basis of the award-winning film of the same name, which is Italy's hope for the best foreign-language film at next year's Oscars.