Palazzolo deported to Italy

2013-12-22 09:00

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Cape Town - Notorious Cape Town Mafioso Vito Palazzolo, who has evaded authorities for 26 years, has finally been extradited from a Thai prison to Italy, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

The Sunday Times reports that Palazzolo, 66, was flown from Bangkok's infamous Klong Prem Prison on Thursday. He is currently being held in Milan's high-security Opera Prison - which is reserved for members of the Mafia.

According to Italian authorities, Palazzolo was the Mafia's banker. He arrived in South Africa in 1986, two days after escaping from a Swiss prison. In 2006 he was found guilty in absentia by an Italian tribunal sitting in Palermo of complicity in the crime of aggravated Mafia-type association.

He has, however, lived in South Africa under a high court protection order stating that his Italian sentence was not an extraditable offence.

In March last year he went on a family holiday to Thailand. He was arrested at the Bangkok airport when trying to board a flight back to South Africa.

Help from SA

In 2012 lawyers for Palazzolo approached the Western Cape High Court in a bid to keep him from being deported to Italy.

His lawyers asked the court to rule that the minister of international relations must appeal to the Thai government on Palazzolo's behalf.

This was to notify the other country - where Palazzo, 64, has been detained - that he was a South African citizen and that he was travelling on a South African passport.

"...In terms of s 21(3) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, he is entitled to enter South Africa."

He is allegedly a wanted member of the Sicilian mafia and is being investigated for money laundering. In 2006 he was convicted in absentia for Mafia links.

The probe was started by the now-defunct Scorpions and taken over by the Hawks.

In March 2003, Palazzolo was found not guilty of fraudulently acquiring citizenship by the Cape Town Regional Court.

Read more on:    italy  |  cape town  |  thailand

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