Maradona's earring sold to pay tax bill
Bolzano : Italy Jan 14, 2010 Source: AKI
Diego Maradona's diamond earring was sold for 25,000 euros at an Italian auction on Thursday to help pay off his outstanding tax debt. Maradona, one of the world's most celebrated football players, reportedly owes around 36 million euros in taxes to the Italian government from when he played for Napoli from 1984 to 1991.
The auction was held at a hotel in the nothern city of Bolzano by a government debt-collecting agency, Equitalia.
"Bidding started at 5,500 euros," Equitalia's Giovanni Lombardi told Adnkronos International (AKI). "It finally sold for five times that amount."
"A woman from Italy's south bid against four or five other people."
The earring was seized in September when Maradona was visiting a northern Italy health spa to treat obesity and stress.
Lombardi said Maradona has escaped arrest for tax evasion because the statute of limitations has expired.
However, he said officials still had the power to confiscate his valuables.
"He will be careful with the valuables he has whenever he visits Italy," Lombardi said.
Italy confiscated two of the football player's Rolex watches when he visited Naples to play in a football match to raise money for charity in 2006.
Maradona is currently coach of the Argentinian national team.