Diego Maradona was served with a massive tax bill for alleged unpaid taxes during his successful soccer career with Napoli in the late 1980s.
The soccer legend played as a striker for Napoli from 1984 until 1991 and helped the club win two series A titles, in 1987 and 1990. He set world-record contract fees twice during his career and scored 115 goals in 259 games with the club.
Maradona’s tax bill amounts to a staggering $53 million, and The Huffington Post reports Italy’s tax collection agency has started the process of freezing his assets in the country in order to pay the debt off.
Equalitia explained that the tax bill was served at Maradona’s hotel room in Milan, and he signed the documents necessary. The Argentine great was in the country to promote a DVD series on his life and watch his former club play Roma on Friday.
Maradona protested against the charges last year, notes The Daily Mail, saying, “I am not a tax fraudster. I was playing football and someone else was signing for me.”
However, the Italian courts saw differently. The battle began in 2005, when Diego Maradona was ordered to pay several million dollars, most of which was interest for the unpaid taxes. However, Italian prosecutors had to start their case from scratch in 2011 in what the soccer great’s lawyer called a victory.
But a court in Naples ruled against Maradona on January 10 of this year, saying he needed to pay the debt. The papers signed on Friday are allegedly a formal procedure and only last for 180 days. A source from Equalitia told the Mail, “This is not putting pressure.”
It wasn’t the first time tax agents visited the star during a trip to Italy, according to the Mail, which claimed they confiscated diamond earrings and two Rolex watches worth thousands.
Diego Maradona, who helped Argentina win the World Cup in 1986, is now a sports ambassador for the United Arab Emirates.