French court again backs extradition of Italian mafia killer

By Thomson Reuters Feb 29, 2024 | 4:47 AM

PARIS (Reuters) – A French court on Thursday again backed the extradition to Italy of Edgardo Greco, a convicted mafia killer-turned-pizza chef who has been on the run since 2006.

The Lyon Court of Appeal gave a “favourable opinion” to the extradition at a hearing held earlier in the day, it said.

Further details were not immediately available and Greco’s lawyer could not be immediately reached for comment. This was the second time the Lyon court has ruled on the case.

In April 2023, the court had backed Greco’s extradition but that decision was suspended by an appeal to the Court of Cassation, France’s top court.

Last month, the Court of Cassation had annulled the Lyon court ruling, basing its decision on a procedural flaw, and had said Greco’s extradition case should be heard again in France.

Greco, 64, is wanted in Italy to serve a life sentence for beating two mafia rivals to death with a crowbar at a Calabrian fishmonger in 1991.

Suspected of belonging to the notorious ‘Ndrangheta, a powerful mafia organisation based in Calabria, southern Italy, Greco fled the country after his sentencing in 2006.

He was on the run until he was arrested by French police in February 2023, after investigators discovered he was working as a pizza chef in an Italian restaurant in Saint-Etienne in central France.

Greco had taken on a new identity, calling himself Paolo Dimitrio. In July 2021, he was so confident in his new alias that he agreed to be featured in a French newspaper, boasting of his restaurant’s recipes.

After French police surveillance teams confirmed his identity, he was arrested, following which Italy requested his extradition.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Alex Richardson)