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Former Birkirkara, Juve striker Fabrizio Miccoli jailed for mafia-style extortion

Italian striker who last played for Birkirkara when extortion charges were already pending, gets three-year jail-term for aggravated extortion alongside son of Mafia boss

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
21 October 2017, 8:20am
Fabrizio Miccoli signing for Birkirkara in July 2015, shaking hands with then club president Adrian Delia
Fabrizio Miccoli signing for Birkirkara in July 2015, shaking hands with then club president Adrian Delia
The former Juventus and Birkirkara striker Fabrizio Miccoli has been sentenced to three years and six months in prison for aggravated extortion.

Miccoli was investigated for over two years on suspicions of extortion, namely enrolling the help of Mauro Lauricella – son of Mafia boss Salvatore, known as ‘Scintilluni’ – to shake down Palermo Calcio’s former physiotherapist.

 In another incident, Lauricella was said to have used violent methods to recover €12,000 for the running of a discotheque, although only €2,000 was ever actually recovered.

Lauricella and another defendant, Gioacchino Amato, had initially been charged with mafia-style extortion, carrying a jail term of up to 10 years, but Amato was acquitted and Miccoli’s friend was accused of the lesser crime of private violence, resulting in a one year suspended sentence.

READ MORE Extortion investigations haunt Italian player Fabrizio Miccoli

Miccoli has always denied the charges against him, stating that he didn’t know of Lauricella’s alleged connection to the mafia, and will appeal. “Miccoli is very angry and sad, because he knows he’s innocent. He’s a complete stranger to any of these accusations and we’ll try to prove it in the appeals process.”

Miccoli has previously publicly declared he has no mafia ties and that he “dislikes the things that the mafia does.”

But he was heard in a telephone interception with Lauricella, calling slain anti-Mafia magistrate Giovanni Falcone “mud”. He later asked the city of Palermo for forgiveness in a tearful press conference.

The telephone conversations he was heard having included friends like Francesco Guttadauro, the nephew of mafia boss-in-hiding Matteo Messina Denaro; and the Carabinieri claim Miccoli was in Guttadauro’s company while meeting a Messina Denaro associated, Paolo Forte; and that his other friends include Luigi Giardina, a brother-in-law of mafia boss Gianni Nicchi (know as ‘u Tiramisù), and Nicola Milano, the boss of the Porta Nuova mandamento.

“I tried behaving myself like a normal person,” Miccoli later told the press. “Meeting anyone without asking where they were coming form.”

Miccoli spent a year playing for Birkirkara after having last played for Lecce.

At the time of his signing, then president Adrian Delia – today Opposition leader – told the Guardian that Miccoli had never before had “such a cordial, family feeling as he does now. It’s one of the advantages of being small… He is a humble person who doesn’t act like a prima donna, and his nature is already proving to be a gelling force in the team.”

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.
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