Maradona denies he evaded tax in Italy
The tax collection agency says it is owed almost 40 million euros ($52.3 million) by the former World Cup winner, most of which is interest built up since 1984 when he joined Serie A club Napoli.
"I am innocent," Maradona told a news conference. "I want to believe in the Italian justice system — I don't owe them a lira,’’ he added. He said he wanted to clear his name so he could return to Italy, a nation he loves, without being chased for the debts.
The country's authorities have long pursued him, seizing diamond earrings when he visited a weight-loss clinic in northern Italy in 2009 and stripping him of two watches when he went to Naples for a benefit match in 2006.
"I wanted to tell you all that I can feel, again, the air of Naples in all of my body," said Maradona.