Diego Maradona recently took a trip to Italy, where the former soccer star & current Argentina coach checked himself into a weight-loss clinic. But it was more than unsightly pounds Diego managed to lose during his visit - he also lost his earrings.
However, Maradona didn’t displace them - the earrings were actually seized by Italian police. So why would local law enforcement be interested in taking a man’s head jewelry? Because he owes the country money.
Italian authorities claim that Maradona owes 31 million euros (about $46 million) in back taxes, dating back from his playing days with soccer club Napoli. So when Diego showed up at the Hotel Palace health spa in Merano in the Dolomites (no, not this Dolemite), police took his earrings.
From the TELEGRAPH:
“The earrings may be a drop in the ocean, but this gives an important signal to honest taxpayers,” said a local politician, Maurizio Fugatti, from the separatist Northern League party.
Although the face value of the earrings is £3,600 (about $6,000), Italian authorities hope they may fetch more when they are auctioned because of the celebrity of their former owner.
And it turns out this isn’t the only time Maradona has left Italy with lighter pockets:
Three years ago, Italian police confiscated two Rolex watches worth an estimated 10,000 euros from him when he traveled to Naples to play in a benefit match.
Officers acted on a judicial order which authorized them to seize anything of value belonging to Maradona “within plain sight”.
In 2005 they seized his payment for participating in a TV reality show, Dancing With the Stars, and in 2001 he was met by 20 police officers as he got off a plane in Rome.
Maradona has insisted that the taxes should have been paid by the Napoli club, and that it was not his responsibility. Word of advice to Diego - maybe keep Italy out of your future travel plans. And leave the earrings at home.