Wanted mafia boss Domenico Rancadore denied bail

10.08.2013 04:40

A mafia boss found living in London
has been denied bail while Italian
authorities seek his extradition.
Domenico Rancadore headed a family
involved in extortion, racketeering and
drug trafficking, Italian police claim.
The 64-year-old was arrested on
Wednesday at a house in Uxbridge under
a European Arrest Warrant.
A judge at Westminster Magistrates'
Court denied Rancadore bail and
scheduled a full extradition hearing for
25 November.
A new arrest warrant was issued for
Rancadore earlier after his lawyers
claimed there were "significant
deficiencies" in the original warrant.
He was then rearrested and refused bail
by District Judge Quentin Purdy who said
Rancadore had "actively evaded
apprehension for a significant period of
time".
'Not well known'
The new warrant states Rancadore was
one of the heads of the Sicilian Cosa
Nostra, which was "one of the most
powerful mafia associations in Italy made
up of thousands of members spreading
terror".
Commenting on the initial arrest, Italian
deputy prime minister and interior
minister Angelino Alfano said an
"important mobster" had been arrested
and he would "go to jail".
Domenico Rancadore was described by the
Italian deputy prime minister as an
"important mobster"
Rancadore, a father-of-two, was initially
acquitted of Mafia-related crimes after a
three-year trial in Italy and came to the
UK in 1993.
He was said to have been known to his
neighbours in Manor Waye, Uxbridge, as
Marc Skinner.
But in 1999 he was convicted in his
absence of being part of a criminal
organisation and sentenced by the Italian
authorities to seven years in jail.
In a statement, the Italian Interior
Ministry said Rancadore had "played the
role of chief of the Cosa Nostra in Trabia,
Palermo".
Speaking from Palermo in Sicily, Italian
journalist Tancredi Palmeri said
Rancadore was not well known by the
public.
"It is not a name that rings a bell but the
authorities knew him very well as he was
on the most wanted list," he added.
At Westminster Magistrates' Court on
Thursday, Euan Macmillan, for
Rancadore, said there were "significant
deficiencies" in the warrant.
His client had come to the UK "as a free
man on his own Italian passport with his
family", he said.
"He has led a blameless life in this
country for the past 20 years," he added.
Remanding Rancadore in custody on
Thursday, Judge Purdy said: "There are
concerns about the validity of the
warrant that has come before the
court."
'Way of life'
The BBC's correspondent in Rome, David
Willey, said the concerns about the
original arrest warrant regarded the
generic terms of the charge under which
he was convicted in Italy.
Domenico Rancadore was arrested at his
Uxbridge home where neighbours knew him
as Marc Skinner
He was found guilty of mafia conspiracy,
a charge used extensively by Italian
justice in pursuing mafia criminals.
"Now under English law, mafia
conspiracy does not exist as a crime,"
David Willey said.
"So although he's been found guilty of
extortion, which is an extraditable
offence, there are problems and the
Italians are quite aware that they've had
difficulty convincing British justice that
he is one of their most wanted
criminals."
The correspondent said the fact
Rancadore was able to live in Uxbridge
without raising any suspicions was very
"typical of mafia criminals in Sicily".
"It's very difficult for Italian police to
nab mafia bosses. They live often for
years undercover and they're protected
by their families and friends and they
merge into the background.
"This is what this man appears to have
been able to do very skilfully in London
just as he and many other mafia
criminals have managed to do in Sicily.
"It's a way of life and this is why the
Mafia is such a problem here in Italy and
why successive governments, who have
battled against organised crime -
particularly in the Island of Sicily - they
find it too difficult to bring all these
people to justice."