Giorgia Meloni said she had had no contact with her father for decades, after it emerged that he was convicted of smuggling drugs and sentenced to nine years in a Spanish prison.
The far-Right politician, who is poised to become Italy’s next prime minister, has spoken at length about how her father, Francesco, abandoned his family when she was just a baby, sailing to a new life in the Canary Islands on a yacht called Crazy Horse in the early 1980s.
But it emerged on Thursday that, down on his luck after the failure of his restaurant business on the island of Gomera, he was caught trying to smuggle 1,500kg of cannabis resin from Morocco to Italy in 1995.
A storm apparently forced his French-flagged yacht, the Cool Star, to seek shelter in the port of Mahon in Menorca. It was there that the drugs were discovered by customs agents.
He was sentenced to nine years in prison in 1996 by a court in Palma, Majorca.
The businessman told the court that he had agreed to transport the cannabis for a payment in pesetas equivalent to 300,000 euros or £268,000 GBP.
Mr Meloni died of leukaemia
Three other people were arrested in the drugs bust, including two of his stepchildren.
They were sentenced to four years in jail, despite his claims that they had nothing to do with the smuggling plot.
The case was unearthed by a Spanish newspaper, Diario de Mallorca, which covered the original trial.
Mr Meloni died of leukaemia a few years ago. His estrangement from his family was recounted by Ms Meloni in her best-selling biography, I Am Georgia.
Ms Meloni recounts in her autobiography how she lost contact with her father and stopped seeing him when she was 11.
A spokesperson for Ms Meloni told The Telegraph: "Giorgia Meloni stopped seeing her father when she was 11 years old and had no more contact with him. She has no idea about what he may have done and does not think she can be held responsible for the actions of a man who chose to no longer see her when she was a child."
Ms Meloni has described how she felt almost nothing after learning that her father had died.
“There was neither hate nor dislike. I didn’t feel anything. It was as if a television personality had died. That was all,” she told Italian radio.
In another interview she said: “He left us when I was a year old. He lived in the Canary Islands and we would go there to visit for one or two weeks a year.” At the age of 13 she decided she never wanted to see him again.
During her election campaign she often stressed the importance of traditional family values.
She also accused many of the migrants who arrive on Italy’s shores of ending up dealing drugs or prostituting themselves to survive. She has called for the imposition of a naval blockade to prevent any more from arriving from North Africa.
After being abandoned by her father, she was brought up by her mother, Anna Paratore, a writer of romance novels.
Ms Meloni is engaged in negotiations with two other parties in a right-wing alliance to form Italy’s next government.
Her Brothers of Italy party is the dominant partner in the coalition, which also includes the Forza Italia party of former premier Silvio Berlusconi and the hardline League party of Matteo Salvini. The process of forming the next government is expected to take weeks.