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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 October 2006, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
'Mafia' man's extradition fight
Armed police
Caldarelli is described as a "very dangerous man"
An alleged top Mafia man, who was arrested in east London after evading capture for more than 10 years, has begun his fight against extradition.

Raffaele Caldarelli, 35, was arrested by police in Hackney on 5 September following months of undercover police work and advanced surveillance.

City of Westminster magistrates' court heard that Caldarelli was involved in Mafia-type criminal offences.

He was also involved in illegal drugs trafficking, an European warrant said.

He was sentenced to 20 years in jail in his absence in 1995 for crimes such as extortion.

Scotland Yard received a request for his capture from Italian authorities via Interpol.

Blowing 'kisses'

Caldarelli, who was represented by a four-member legal team, spoke through an interpreter to confirm his name, age and address.

Mark Summers, his lawyer, said the accused would fight the extradition request by Italian authorities in Naples.

Caldarelli blew kisses to people in the public gallery as he was led from the court.

For the prosecution, Seth Levine said the accused was rearrested and served with an updated arrest warrant, minutes before his court appearance.

"There are substantial grounds to believe that Caldarelli would fail to surrender if bail was granted due to the nature and seriousness of the offences," he said.

Caldarelli was found with false identity papers when he was arrested, the prosecutor said.

Police in his home town of Naples described Caldarelli as a very dangerous man and that he was wanted for "Mafia association, drug-running, arms smuggling, extortion... involved in several homicides but he has never been convicted".

Caldarelli had previously managed to avoid capture in London once before.

A further hearing was set for 30 October.




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