Former Juventus and Palermo striker Fabrizio Miccoli has been sentenced to three years and six months in prison for aggravated extortion.
A court in Palermo found that the former Italian international had asked his friend Mauro Lauricella, son of alleged mafioso Kalsa, to recover €12,000 for him, money which related to the running of a discotheque.
Lauricella is said to have used violent methods to recover the money, 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.
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.
“We’re left with a sentence in total disagreement with what the Palermo Tribunal has already established,” Giovanni Castronovo, Miccoli’s lawyer told reporters outside the court.
“We’re now in the paradoxical situation where the alleged instigator of the extortion has been convicted, while the person who actually carried it out has been acquitted.
“So for the tribunal there’s no extortion, but there is for the pre-trial judge. We’ll appeal with all our strength to restore the rule of law, which we believe has been infringed.
“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.”