Photo: Diego Maradona want to Settle Italian Debt
Former Argentine player and current coach of Dubai’s Al Wasl soccer club Diego Armando Maradona said on the weekend that he wants to settle his back tax bill of some 40 million euros (about $52 million) with the Italian Treasury so that he can return to Naples and be able to get together again with his friends in Italy.
The Argentine star made this proposition to the Italian authorities from his residence in Dubai in a statement read in Italian on the satellite continuous-news Sky Tg24 television channel.
“I’ve never been convicted by the Supreme Court and I want to clear up everything to finally make peace with the Treasury and with all of Italy, putting an end to so many errors and injustices made against me,” said Maradona, who played for Italy’s Napoli soccer club from 1984 to 1991.
“They have prevented me from returning to Italy until today and I hope that justice will be done and that the law will be equal for everyone. My wish is to return and embrace the Neapolitans and all my friends who live in Italy, because they have made me lose 20 years, many years of love,” he added.
The former Argentine national team coach, who also played for Sevilla and Barcelona, said that “it’s fair to pay the taxes, but the treasury has to be more humane with the citizens.”
“I’ve never been a tax evader. I’ve always paid all the taxes I knew about. That’s also what the sentence of the Italian court from 1994 presented by my attorney Angelo Pisani to the new judges says. The sentence says that I’m right and that I have no debts,” Maradona said.
As Sky Tg24 reported in the story, in the coming days Maradona’s lawyers and representatives of the Italian Treasury will get in contact with one another to try and reach a definitive agreement about the ex-player’s pending debts.
The Italian Treasury is demanding that the Al Wasl coach pay some 40 million euros - most of it accrued interest - because he did not pay income tax in the country during the second half of the 1980s when he was playing for Napoli, an amount that is growing daily by 3,000 euros in interest.
The Argentine soccer icon says that his problem with the treasury is the fault of “some Napoli director who did not inform (me) in time,” since when it was demanded that he pay up he had already been out of the country for six months.
In an attempt to collect the outstanding debt, Italy’s financial police confiscated some earrings he had been wearing at a weight-loss center in northern Italy and which were eventually auctioned in 2010 for 25,000 euros.
In 2006, taking advantage of another visit by Maradona to Italy, Italian authorities confiscated a Rolex watch valued at 11,000 euros from the star.