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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 May 2007, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Mafia suspect will be extradited
Gennaro Panzuto
Gennaro Panzuto was arrested at his flat by armed officers
An alleged Mafia boss suspected of four murders in Italy has agreed to be extradited from the UK.

Gennaro Panzuto, 32, of Garstang near Preston, Lancs, was arrested by the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency.

City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London was told a series of charges against Mr Panzuto date back to November 2005 and are ongoing.

Twenty people have died in three months in Naples in clashes between rival groups the Pincirillos and the Missos.

'Armed confrontation'

Charges against Mr Panzuto drawn up by Italian investigating judge Tullio Morello also include possession of weapons in Italy including a Kalashnikov, pump-action shotgun, a sawn-off shotgun and a machine pistol.

Mr Panzuto is set to return to Italy in 10 days' time.

Melanie Cumberland, for the Italian government, described Mr Panzuto in court as an "armed Mafia associate".

She said: "He is engaged in an armed confrontation with the so-called Misso clan that operates in the same area for financial gain and unlawful activities of the members."

Ms Cumberland said these included "committing murder, engaging in extortion, selling drugs, and carrying firearms".

Undercover work

She told the court a secret recording made in February 2005 shows Mr Panzuto plotting the murder of Graziano Borelli.

Mr Panzuto is heard saying: "As soon as possible, he goes out, we have to shoot him. We have to kill him in the hall."

A separate recording from December 2005 shows him blackmailing a bingo club owner to get 3,000 euros (2,040) of renovation work done.

District Judge Timothy Workman told Mr Panzuto that his decision to agree to extradition would mean the process would move quickly.

Mr Panzuto, speaking through an interpreter, replied: "I am sorry if I have created any problems by this."

Mr Workman said: "I'm remanding you in custody pending your return to the Court of Naples in Italy. That return should take place within 10 days of today's date."

Mr Panzuto was traced to his flat and arrested on 16 May by armed officers following months of undercover work by the Italian police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.


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