Maradona calls for ‘justice’ in Naples

Maradona calls for ‘justice’ in Naples

NAPLES, Italy - Agence France-Presse
Maradona calls for ‘justice’ in Naples

Former Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona balances a ball on his head during a news conference in Naples February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

Football legend Diego Maradona today asked for “justice” in his dispute with Italian tax authorities on an emotional trip to Naples - the scene of some of his greatest career successes.

“I haven’t killed anyone, I’ve just come to ask for justice,” Maradona said at a press conference, saying he had been a “victim” of swindlers and revealing that he wanted to meet Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to discuss his tax difficulties.

“I can explain everything to him,” the former attacking midfielder said.

World Cup winner Maradona, who helped Napoli to their only Italian championship wins in 1987 and 1990, was convicted of tax evasion in 2005 and ordered to pay 37.2 million euros including 23.5 million euros in interest on late tax payments.

An Italian court in November last year admitted there had been a procedural error in the investigation and ordered a new inquiry.

Maradona arrived in Italy on Feb. 25 from Dubai, where he is an ambadassor for sport, and watched a Serie A match between his former club and Udinese, which ended 0-0, in his hotel The 52-year-old Argentinian had rarely stepped foot in Italy since leaving under a cloud in the 1990s amid claims of collusion with mafia dons and a positive drugs test for cocaine.

Fans massed outside the hotel where Maradona was speaking, chanting in his honour.