Diego Maradona has been hit with a $33 million tax bill for alleged unpaid taxes during his successful career with Napoli in the late 1980s. Maradona, who many consider one of the greatest players of all time, has been notified by authorities.
The Italian tax collection agency has threatened to freeze his assets to pay off the outstanding debt.
However, the agency claims the move is simply a formal procedure with the papers only having a 180-day validity and therefore having to be renewed whenever Maradona is in Italy.
“This is not putting pressure,” said a source at the Equitalia tax recovery agency.
The 52-year-old star, who has been in Milan promoting a DVD series on his life and watching his Napoli play Roma, was handed the tax bill in the amount of $39 million in his hotel room. He is believed to have signed the notification, which legally enables authorities to seize the star’s assets in Italy. Maradona’s tax woes stem from his time playing for Napoli between 1984 and 1991, when he helped the club win its only two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990.
In 2005, the striker was ordered to pay $37.2 million. About $23.5 million was interest on the debt. However, Italian prosecutors started the trial from scratch in 2011 in what was seen as a victory by Maradona’s lawyer in Italy, Angelo Pisani.
A final ruling on January 10 this year from a court in Naples has now made the sentence definitive.
“I am not a tax fraudster,” the star protested last year. “I was playing football and someone else was signing for me.”
During previous visits to Italy, tax agents have confiscated $3,700 diamond earrings and two Rolex watches worth $9,000 from Maradona.
The footballing legend, who is the only player to have set world-record contract fees twice, scored 115 goals in 259 games with Napoli.