Maradona slammed with €39m tax bill in Italy

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Diego Maradona won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986. Photo: Wagner Fontoura/Flickr
16:40 CEST+02:00
Italian tax agents have served football legend Diego Maradona with papers over a €39 million debt that the feisty Argentinian disputes, ANSA news agency reported on Friday.

Maradona was in Milan for an event organised by best-selling sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport for the publication of a DVD collection on his life.

A source at the Equitalia tax recovery agency said the move was simply formal procedure since the papers only have a 180-day validity and therefore have to be renewed whenever Maradona is in Italy.

They would theoretically give legal premise for Italian authorities to seize Maradona's assets in Italy, which the international star does not have.

"This is not putting pressure," the source said.

Maradona's tax woes go back to when he played for Napoli between 1984 and 1991. In 2005, he was ordered to pay €37.2 million, €23.5 million of which were interest on the debt.

But Italian prosecutors resumed the trial from scratch in 2011 in what was seen as a victory by Maradona's lawyer in Italy, Angelo Pisani.

A final ruling on January 10th this year from a court in Naples has now made the sentence definitive.

"I am not a tax fraudster," Maradona protested last year. "I was playing football and someone else was signing for me," he said.

Maradona scored 115 goals in 259 games with Napoli, where he is still adored to this day. With him on the team, Napoli won their only two Italian league titles in 1987 and 1990.

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He also won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986.

The former cocaine addict is now a roving sports ambassador for the United Arab Emirates following his departure from local club Al Wasl in 2012.

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