You know the saying 'if it is too good to be true, it usually is.' This quote can be applied to the curious case of the richest dog in the world, Gunther, who was said to be the proud owner of mansions, yachts, bling, and jets along with a slew of caretakers to tend to his every need.
It all began when a wealthy German countess by the name of Karlotta Leibenstein decided to bequeath her $80 million dollar fortune on her beloved dog as she did not have any heirs. Maurizio Mian, a friend of the late countess's son, then assumed the role of main caretaker for Gunther III and spared no costs in giving the pampered pooch every luxury money could buy.
The story starts to take a bizarre turn from here as this excerpt explains: "The dogs dined on steaks flecked with gold, traveled the world in private jets, and sunned themselves on yachts. Gunther IV even purchased Madonna’s Miami mansion for $7.5 million. His grandson Gunther VI and his handlers later sold the estate for an eye-popping $29 million."
Stories of how Mian recruited beautiful models to live in the mansion alongside Gunther in order to ensure continued interest from the Italian paparazzi abound. Mian would continue to pull extravagant stunts like this to prolong his 15 minutes of fame.
However, something did not sit tight with the stories and they quickly came under scrutiny.
According to reports, it was discovered that there was no wealthy countess, instead, Gunther was an innocent victim of a bizarre scheme dreamed up to avoid taxes: "There actually was no bereaved countess. Mian, a university professor with mental health problems, was an heir to a vast Italian pharmaceutical fortune. Looking to avoid paying taxes, his mother had funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to a reliable friend in Germany via Liechtenstein, a well-known tax haven, and the Bahamas."
When the friend died, Mian came up with the idea of transferring wealth to the dog to avoid paying taxes.
Per reports, when Gunther III died, Mian paid a Tuscan breeder by the name of Alarico Sgroi to continue Gunther's bloodline. It was later revealed that the dogs supporting this hoax were bred under horrific conditions.
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