8 episodes

William Veres is in trouble. In 2018 he was arrested following the largest ever investigation by the Italian police’s art squad. They accuse him of running a pan-European art-smuggling ring with ties to the Sicilian mafia. He is alleged to have stolen $40 million worth of art and antiquities from Italy. Charged with 14 counts, including money laundering, forgery, wire fraud and conspiracy, he faces a jail term of up to 20 years.

But he has a plan to get out of trouble. In this four-part podcast, host Simon Willis follows him as he puts that plan into action. It’s a story that takes listeners deep into the underworld, and into the dark heart of the most famous criminal organization of them all – Cosa Nostra.

It is a story of drug dealers, hitmen, smugglers, spies – even a corrupt prime minister. And in the middle of it all is William Veres’s quest to save himself. How? By solving the coldest cold case in the history of art crime – the theft of Caravaggio’s Nativity.

The Professor is a series for Hidden Worlds, the home of unbelievable true stories and gripping investigations into shadowy places.

Stay subscribed to Hidden Worlds and get brand new series delivered to your favorite podcast app year-round. One podcast, endless stories.

For more, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds.

The Professor: Hunting for the Mafia's Missing Masterpiece Brazen

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 57 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

William Veres is in trouble. In 2018 he was arrested following the largest ever investigation by the Italian police’s art squad. They accuse him of running a pan-European art-smuggling ring with ties to the Sicilian mafia. He is alleged to have stolen $40 million worth of art and antiquities from Italy. Charged with 14 counts, including money laundering, forgery, wire fraud and conspiracy, he faces a jail term of up to 20 years.

But he has a plan to get out of trouble. In this four-part podcast, host Simon Willis follows him as he puts that plan into action. It’s a story that takes listeners deep into the underworld, and into the dark heart of the most famous criminal organization of them all – Cosa Nostra.

It is a story of drug dealers, hitmen, smugglers, spies – even a corrupt prime minister. And in the middle of it all is William Veres’s quest to save himself. How? By solving the coldest cold case in the history of art crime – the theft of Caravaggio’s Nativity.

The Professor is a series for Hidden Worlds, the home of unbelievable true stories and gripping investigations into shadowy places.

Stay subscribed to Hidden Worlds and get brand new series delivered to your favorite podcast app year-round. One podcast, endless stories.

For more, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Episode 1: The Nativity

    Episode 1: The Nativity

    William Veres is arrested in a dawn raid – one of 50 simultaneous raids across Europe to bust his criminal gang. To get out of trouble he agrees a deal with Italian anti-mafia police: if he can help them solve the coldest cold case in the history of art theft, they will help him in his own case. In this episode, we follow Veres as he begins his quest to find Caravaggio’s Nativity, believed to be in the hands of Cosa Nostra.

    Don’t want to wait for the next episode? Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus to listen to the full series today, and get ad-free listening.

    For more fearless storytelling, search for the Brazen channel on Apple Podcasts or visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds.

    • 39 min
    Episode 2: The Go-Between

    Episode 2: The Go-Between

    Veres goes to Belgium to meet a contact who he believes can help him obtain vital information about the Caravaggio painting. The contact agrees to act as Veres’s go-between, connecting Veres with senior figures in the mafia hierarchy. Meanwhile, host Simon Willis delves into the past investigations of the case, and finds out why the official investigation went nowhere: it was closed down after it uncovered links between the Caravaggio theft and Mafiosi close to Italian politicians.

    Don’t want to wait for the next episode? Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus to listen to the full series today, and get ad-free listening.

    The Professor is a series for Hidden Worlds, the home of unbelievable true stories and gripping investigations into shadowy places. Subscribe to Hidden Worlds and get brand new series delivered to your favorite podcast app year-round. One podcast, endless stories. For more, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds.

    For more fearless storytelling, search for the Brazen channel on Apple Podcasts or visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds.

    • 35 min
    Episode 3: Money for Nothing

    Episode 3: Money for Nothing

    Veres gets word that the mafia are willing to talk about returning stolen art. He meets a group of middlemen in Naples, who tell him there’s a canvas on offer. As Veres negotiates the return of the painting, we begin to doubt Veres and Brand’s account of how they recover stolen art. It looks like they risk breaking the law to get the painting back. In his quest to get himself out of trouble, is Veres getting himself deeper into it?

    Don’t want to wait for the next episode? Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus to listen to the full series today, and get ad-free listening.

    The Professor is a series for Hidden Worlds, the home of unbelievable true stories and gripping investigations into shadowy places. Subscribe to Hidden Worlds and get brand new series delivered to your favorite podcast app year-round. One podcast, endless stories. For more, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds.

    For more fearless storytelling, search for the Brazen channel on Apple Podcasts or visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds.

    • 27 min
    Episode 4: The Fugitive

    Episode 4: The Fugitive

    Veres receives some photographs of parts of the Caravaggio canvas. He follows the lead to a source in Belgium, who is close to the Sicilian mafia. The source provides crucial new information about what happened to the painting. And it points to one man: a mafioso who has been on the run for thirty years.

    Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus to get ad-free listening.

    The Professor is a series for Hidden Worlds, the home of unbelievable true stories and gripping investigations into shadowy places. Subscribe to Hidden Worlds and get brand new series delivered to your favorite podcast app year-round. One podcast, endless stories. For more, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds.

    For more fearless storytelling, search for the Brazen channel on Apple Podcasts or visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds.

    • 35 min
    Introducing Death of an Artist: Krasner and Pollock

    Introducing Death of an Artist: Krasner and Pollock

    Thanks for listening to The Professor. If you're looking for a podcast to dive into next, we have something that you might like. It's a called Death of an Artist: Krasner and Pollock, from Pushkin Industries. You’ve heard of Jackson Pollock, but you may have never heard of Lee Krasner. Krasner was an artist, Pollock’s wife, and the woman who made him famous. She also changed everything about the landscape of modern art.Death of an Artist: Krasner and Pollock is a story about love, power, alcoholism and an ill-timed death. Hosted by curator, author, and broadcaster Katy Hessel, this 6-episode series from Pushkin Industries and Samizdat Audio offers an inside look into two of the greatest artists of the 20th century, and how their vision impacts ours. To listen to the show, search for Death of an Artist in your favorite podcast player.

    • 21 min
    Introducing Hidden Worlds

    Introducing Hidden Worlds

    Right now, around the world, there are real life stories unfolding that you wouldn’t believe. Stories that are stranger than fiction.

    In Hidden Worlds, we’ll take you inside these stories and into places usually concealed from view. Every few weeks, we’ll use this feed to share a new podcast series with you — everything from organised crime to espionage, political corruption to international conspiracies.

    Subscribe to Hidden Worlds, the home of gripping investigations and unbelievable true stories, and get a brand new series delivered to your favourite podcast app every month. Up first is The Professor, a story of a stolen masterpiece, the Italian mafia, and one man’s search for redemption. Listen here, in Hidden Worlds, very soon.

    For more information, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds

    • 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
57 Ratings

57 Ratings

Katbergen ,

The Professor

This is a fascinating series, and wonderfully researched and narrated by the host Simon Willis about the theft of Caravaggio’s painting of the nativity by the Sicilian mafia. In following the attempt by art dealer and numismatist William Veres to track it down many years later, Mr Willis creates a compelling and dramatic narrative.

Gilena Simons ,

Absolutely love

I say good on Leonard for exposing such extreme misogyny, including his own. Secrets are sick. It’s a wonder the US Navy can tie its own shoes whilst engaging in so many illegal and amoral shenanigans. I say shine that light and make everyone involved very uncomfortable. Only way to grow.

Original HK Running Babe ,

Compelling Journalism: Would be too outrageous if it were not true

Tom Wright (author of the equally savvy NYT best seller Billion Dollar Whale) again exposes corruption, greed, narcissism, lust and gluttony in abundance. The narrative is as compelling as the facts are troubling.

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