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Thailand extradite Sicilian mafia banker

Vito Palazzolo is an Italian business man who has been convicted of laundering money for the Sicilian Mafia. He was arrested in Thailand in 2012 after many years on the run and will now be extradited to Italy.

Sicillian born Palazzolo worked as a banker in Switzerland and in the 80’s was convicted of laundering money from a mafia drug trafficking operation called the Pizza Connection, for which he spent three years in jail.

After his release the lead prosecutor in the case was assassinated with a road side bomb that also killed his wife their three body guards.

Vito PalazzoloPalazzolo is accused of being the treasurer for the last to Cosa Nostra Godfathers, Bernardo Provenzano and Toto Riina, who are now in jail, but imposed a reign of terror in the 80’s and 90’s.

An Italian court sentence him in absentia to nine years in jail in 2009. He had been living in South Africa under the assumed name of Robert von Palace Kolbatschenko, le later travelled to Thailand.

At his sentencing the Palermo prosecutors said that Palazzolo was one of the most important Costa Nostra figures in twenty years, notably because of his key role between business and the mafia.

During his time in South Africa, where Palazzolo had interests in security, ostrich farming and mineral water, the country declined to extradite him. Investigators believe he also owns  diamond cutting business and a hunting ground popular with the rich and famous, he is also a major investor in a Angolan company who specialize in precious stones.

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