Soccer: Maradona pleads to Italian politicians over tax case
Former Argentina great laments inability to return to Naples05 February, 12:17
The Italian inland revenue agency says Maradona owes around 40 million euros for unpaid taxes on off-the-books earnings in sponsorship and merchandising deals during his 1984-1991 sting at Napoli.
Last week the ex-player's lawyer said a tax commission had cancelled the debt, but the inland revenue agency subsequently said this was not true. Maradona, who is revered in Naples for helping the city's soccer team to win two Serie A titles and the UEFA Cup, had a diamond-studded earring and a Rolex watch seized, among other assets, on past visits to Italy.
"I'm not a tax evader. I never have been because I only played soccer," Maradona said in a video message released by his lawyer.
"I cannot freely return to Naples with peace of mind and this is not right," he added, appearing close to tears. "I appeal to the politicians. I didn't steal anything. If I did things wrong, it was about other stuff. I want to return to Naples freely.
"They haven't got evidence to come after me or to persecute me. I ask all the Italian politicians to look closely at who is behind all this.
"They are robbing me of the chance to see again the people of Naples, who I love".