Maurizio Mian was born into wealth as the heir to a pharm empire (Picture: Netflix)
Gunther’s Millions is the wild new Netflix documentary about a dog worth $400,000,000 and his handler, the mysterious Maurizio Mian.
Gunther, a German Shephard, as the tale goes was the sole beneficiary of a wealthy countess’ will, inheriting a colossal fortune.
Naturally, being a, er, dog, the countess’ family friend Mian was appointed in charge of the pooch’s trust, which was used to purchase Madonna’s former home, among many other luxuries.
The entrepreneur was born in Pisa, Italy on March 25, 1956, making him 65 years old.
He is the heir to the pharmaceutical empire Istituto Gentili which, as the documentary explains, pioneered a treatment for osteoporosis and was purchased by fellow US giant Merck in 1997.
Mian married his first wife Carla Riccitelli and went on to have a son with her, the couple later split but remain on good terms, with Carla still working for The Gunther Corporation.
Maurizio Mian was the handler of Gunther (Picture: Netflix)
His second marriage was with Cristina Mian, the pair also broke up, but share a daughter together.
Under The Gunther Corporation, Mian founded The Burgundians in Miami, a group of ‘young beautiful’ people, who were being monitored round the clock to find the secret to happiness.
They also released a single Wild Dogs, although it was not a critical or commercial sucess.
Carla Riccitelli was Maurizio Mian’s first wife (Picture: Netflix)
Cristina Mian had a daughter with her then-husband Maurizio (Picture: Netflix)
When The Burgundians fell apart, Mian founded a similar community, known as The Magnificient Five in Italy.
The group were actively encouraged to procreate ‘the next generation of truly happy people,’ Maurizio explains in the four-parter.
As the eccentric tells the program makers, the reason behind this quest for happiness was to find a solution for his own depression.
Maurizio Mian with members of The Magnificent Five (Picture: Netflix)
He had invented the tale of the countess, who did not exist, and her son Gunther, who had died by suicide.
Mian explained that Gunther the son was an ‘extrapolation’ of himself and his depression.
Quite why Mian fabricated the entire backstory, successfully hoodwinking international press for years, is unknown, but the trust was the subject of the 2008 Liechtenstein tax affair.
The money was in fact inherited from his mother and banked abroad in what was a ‘financial artifice for taxes’, Mian says in the documentary.
Meanwhile, the inspiration for Gunther the dog came from his ex-girlfriend’s former pooch, who he fell in love with.
The original Gunther, who had a rare disease, was used for publicity for Mian’s family business as they used its drugs on him to a degree of success.
Still wealthy, Gunther’s Millions shows Mian’s future plans to buy tropical island to home an animal sanctuary for dogs.
Gunther’s Millions is available to stream on Netflix.
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Mian was born in Pisa and is an heir to a pharma company.