'South African' mafia boss arrested in Thailand

2012-03-31 22:22

Rome -Thai police have arrested a wanted Italian mafia boss after he flew to Bangkok airport, Italian media said Saturday.

Vito Roberto Palazzolo, from Terrasini near the Sicilian capital Palermo and considered to be a leading member of the Cosa Nostra Sicilian mafia for whom he laundered money, was arrested on Friday.

He was sentenced in absentia by an Italian court in 2009 to nine years in jail for association with the mafia and had been living in South Africa under the name Robert von Palace Kolbatschenko.

South African authorities had declined to extradite the 64-year-old.

Investigators tracked him down after monitoring his Facebook profile and that of his friends and family.

Italian media reported that Thailand had agreed to his extradition to Italy but that his lawyers said he was a South African national, even though he had assumed it under another identity.

When he was first sentenced in 2006, public prosecutors in Palermo said Palazzolo was "one of the most important Cosa Nostra figures in 20 years, notably because of his key role between business and the mafia".

In South Africa he is seen as a major business leader with interests in mineral water, security and ostrich farming.

Investigators believe he is also the owner of a hunting ground popular with the rich and famous, and an investor in a company in Angola that specialising in precious stones.

He was also said to be the owner of a diamond cutting business.

  • Memb - 2012-03-31 22:40

    Umm...isn't Zuma (basically) a fugitive from justice?

      Heather Stip - 2012-04-01 00:21

      LOL, good one, Memb! So true!

      Africa21stcentury - 2012-04-01 04:37

      @Memb, This is the President of our country you are talking about. It is your right not to like him, but it is not your right to insult him !!

      stuart.steedman - 2012-04-01 06:53

      Fairly certain Africa21stcentury is a troll, but on the off-chance he/she's being serious: Democracy gives us the right to criticize our leaders. That is the cornerstone of free speech. If you don't like it, then you argue against a democratic ideal, one which your precious ANC purports to support. So which is it you want? A plutocratic dictatorship when no-one may speak against the leaders, or a democractic society where free speech, good or bad, is allowed and encouraged. You can't have both.

      stuart.steedman - 2012-04-01 06:56

      So in other words, @Africa21stCentury, despite what you say, it is *most definitely* our right to insult our leader. It's ingrained into our Constitution, what right do you have to tell me that I am not allowed to enjoy the freedoms under it. Just because you don't like it, doesn't make it wrong or illegal.

      Africa21stcentury - 2012-04-01 07:21

      @Stuart.Steedman RELAX, "plutocratic dictatorship" "cornerstone of free speech" "ingrained in constitution" What the heck are you talking about ? It seems you are the one who is the troll here !! A "fugituve from justice" , is a CRIMINAL !!! In any democracy in the world, many of its citizens criticize their leaders, accusing them of wrong policies, made fun off, etc ,etc, but them calling their leaders ,criminals, ...hardly !!!! In most democracies, that would actually be unlawful to do so!!! It is YOU that has an misunderstanding of our constitution, and what 'free speech' means! To respect our democratically elected leaders, even not agreeing with them, would be a big step forward making SA a better country, Ohhh and BTW, I am not much of a fan of JZ, I believe his foreign policies are atrocious !!!

      stuart.steedman - 2012-04-01 07:39

      @Africa21stCentury, I refer to your one line: "It is your right not to like him, but it is not your right to insult him !!" My argument is that it is our right to both not like him, and insult him. To argue otherwise is to argue against freedom of speech. If we weren't allowed to belittle our leaders, then people like Zapiro would've been in jail a long time ago. And let's be honest, JZ is essentially a criminal figure, he had the courts drop the legitimate court cases against him so that he could go on to be president. This is not a man that I believe anyone could say has a clear conscience.

      Africa21stcentury - 2012-04-01 07:54

      @Stuart.Steedman, So you are saying; I can call your aunt a slut ?? It is my right to do so.......Free speech.....!!!!! I doubt it !!!!

      bluzulu - 2012-04-01 08:00

      @ Staurt, lost the discussion with this "Troll" inference. Speaks to your inability to distinguish Reality form Fairy tales .

      stuart.steedman - 2012-04-01 08:06

      My aunt isn't a public figure holding a position in public office as leader of the country, therefore laws that protect parody and the like aren't afforded to those that criticize her as those that would criticize Zuma. And @Bluzulu, if you're going to spend time online, learn the terminology: "Troll" (Internet Slang) (n.) ~ A person who posts in a public discussion board or online forum with deliberate intent to provoke controversial debate, incite anger or otherwise disrupt the conversation. Nothing to do with fairy tales mate, go check it out on an online dictionary.

      Africa21stcentury - 2012-04-01 08:16

      Anyhow, to change this debate; Just now on CNN, that the SA government has made arrangements with the Thai government, to have Roberto Palazzolo rteturned to SA. Our government is sending an Air Force plane, to fetch him. There are speculations, that the reason for this, has been his support for the ANC. SKY NEWS, has also now confirmed this !!!

  • rheemaje - 2012-03-31 23:01

    South Africans turned to besomethingelse!

  • rheemaje - 2012-03-31 23:01

    South Africans turned to besomethingelse!

  • Andile - 2012-03-31 23:32

    Maybe he was paying good tax also known as bribe here in SA

  • Kevin - 2012-03-31 23:41


  • Kevin - 2012-03-31 23:42


  • bzengetwa - 2012-04-01 00:03

    'I'm a South African!!! Wel in S.A im gonna be out in no time' that is what this mafia is thinking in his mind.

  • karen.inward - 2012-04-01 00:57

    Fantastic. This guy has been in SA for AGES he must have been lining some pockets.

      Oom - 2012-04-01 01:10

      His own yes

  • karen.inward - 2012-04-01 01:14


  • Lacrimose - 2012-04-01 02:47

    Oh what a shame he didn't end up in a Thai prison

      msnagdee - 2012-04-01 06:19

      Shame indeed. If he lands up in Leeukop, he'll know all about it.

  • Dawn - 2012-04-01 05:59

    "Leading member of the Cosa Nostra Sicilian mafia" was so under cover?? But he just had to updating his facebook profile..oxymoron

  • Roy - 2012-04-01 06:18

    Hope our South African mafia/ANC don't let him back into this country. We allow to many crooks to live here and we already have to many of our own. Why do we allow such people to stay here and not extradite them.

  • bluzulu - 2012-04-01 06:48

    Why is this Recidivist allowed to live freely in RSA?

      patrick.saunders123 - 2012-04-01 06:52

      he bribed the nats and the anc.

      bluzulu - 2012-04-01 07:57

      Thx Pat,

  • Morapedi - 2012-04-01 07:30

    He deserves a heavy sentence *bloody old man*

  • gregnikitas - 2012-04-01 07:42

    A mafia boss involved in Ostrich farming? I almost thought this was a miss timed badly written April Fools joke :P

  • Cassandra Olivier - 2012-04-01 07:42

    South Africa is full of people like him

      Thapelo - 2012-04-01 08:01

      at least he provide work for south african

  • Peter Zylstra - 2012-04-01 07:56

    SA refused to extradite the piece of sh.t to Italy ....why? He was and still is lining the pockets of his ilk in government. Honour amongst thieves!

  • pthomas129 - 2012-04-01 08:44

    if your going to hide under a false name ROBERT VON PALACE KOLBATSCHENKO come on you deserves to get court and your italian how do you explain that one robert most common in england von germany palace god knows and kolbatschenko eastern europe and he"s italian come on

  • daleen1 - 2012-04-02 12:19

    With his "hunting" business and Thai connections, one should investigate a possible rhino-smuggling ring......

  • lungile.khumalo.90 - 2012-06-14 13:43

    get rich as soon as possible, that what the mafias are thinking

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