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How an Italian criminal’s love of football led to his arrest after years on run

One of Italy’s 100 most dangerous fugitives has been captured after 11 years – after watching a Napoli match in a Greek restaurant.

Vincenzo La Porta had been on the run for 11 years, and was snapped in Corfu celebrating on a balcony after his hometown team won the Serie A championship a few weeks ago.

Investigators spotted him among the fans – and headed to the island to tail the 60-year-old.

Officers managed to block him going down a street on a motor scooter.


“Betraying him was his passion for soccer and for the Napoli team,” police said in a statement. “With the championship victory, La Porta couldn’t resist celebrating.”

Closely connected to the Naples-based Camorra organised crime gang, La Porta has been convicted in his absence of criminal association, tax evasion and fraud.

Appearing before a prosecutor on Saturday, he was ordered to be held in prison until a panel of appeal court judges rules on an extradition request from Italy.

Italian authorities want him to be flown back so he can serve a 14-year prison sentence.

Napoli fans during Serie A championship game in June

La Porta was captured near the restaurant where he had reportedly been working as a chef. His lawyer said he has started a new family in Greece and does not want to be extradited.

“He was sentenced long ago for tax offences,” Athanassios Giannakouris said.

“He has started a new family in Greece … he has a nine-year-old boy and is working as a cook to get by. He suffers from heart ailments. If he’s extradited, he and his family will be ruined.”

Police in Italy had been monitoring La Porta’s activity for months, waiting for him to make a false move that would give them insight into his whereabouts.


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