Top French court annuls extradition of Italian mafia killer

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s top court on Tuesday annulled a lower court decision to extradite Edgardo Greco, a convicted mafia killer-turned-pizza chef who has been on the run since 2006, to Italy.

In April 2023, the Lyon Court of Appeal had backed Greco’s extradition but the decision was suspended by an appeal to the Cour de Cassation.

The Cour de Cassation, basing its decision on a procedural flaw tied to the composition of the investigating chamber of the Lyon Court of Appeal, said Greco’s extradition case should be heard again in France.

Greco, 63, 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 Bernadette Baum)