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Wanted son of Italian 'crime boss' found working as chef in Woking 16 years after he disappeared

THE fugitive son of an alleged Sardinian crime boss was traced in the UK when he tried to obtain a new passport nearly 18 years after he disappeared during a drug supply prosecution.

Italy lost trace of Franco Paderi, 69, after he flew to London in November 2006 after his final appeal against conviction failed.

Yet, despite Italy issuing a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) after he applied for a new passport at the Italian Consulate in London in November 2018, giving his address in Surrey.

But, it took a further four years for the National Crime Agency (NCA) to arrest him when he was found living in plain sight with a Latvian girlfriend, no UK convictions, and working as a chef in Woking.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard Paderi was convicted of having a key role in the 1980s in his late father Luigi Paderi's crime network which operated in Cagliari, Sardinia, and sold heroin it sourced from Mafia associates in Milan.

In December 2005 Paderi junior was convicted of "recovering credits of drugs that his father Luigi, in his capacity as head of the association, sent from Milan to Cagliari, and the role of sending to Milan the profits" between November 1987 and March 1988.

He was also convicted of illicitly possessing and transferring drugs, firearms and munitions.

A sentence of nine years imprisonment was imposed, of which seven years, 11 months remains to be served, excluding time Paderi has spent remanded in the UK.

Paderi lodged an appeal in January 2006, which was unsuccessful 11 months later, so he boarded a flight to London.

Italian authorities said they had no idea exactly where he was until the passport application.

District Judge Sarah-Jane Griffiths' judgement said: "Searches in the Schengen area have always been unsuccessful until the requested person (RP) requested a passport."

Paderi said he should not be extradited as he is innocent and it was his late brother, also called Luigi, who was the target of police.

He told the court: "I came here to restart my life after separating from my wife.

"I was not involved in any drug supply nor had I handled the guns.

"I used my own name and lived out in the open. I was registered with the NHS and HMRC and worked as a chef in a number of places... and was subject to a CRB check."

His girlfriend told the court they had been together nine years and he had never mentioned anything about the conviction.

Paderi argued extradition would breach their human rights by impacting their settled life.

District Judge Griffiths wrote: "The delay from the sentence becoming final in November 2006 and the EAW being issued in 2018, is unexplained.

"It has, without doubt, taken a considerable length of time for the EAW to be issued and for it to be certified by the NCA. The delay by the NCA has not been explained.

"The offences relate to organised crime where a large amount of heroin was trafficked and to be supplied in Italy. The RP had a leading role in this organised criminal group.

"I find that the RP, knowing that his appeal had been unsuccessful and that he had to serve the sentence for which his extradition is now sought, left Italy to avoid serving that sentence.

"I am satisfied to the necessary standard that there are no bars to this extradition request."

Paderi has appealed to the High Court.

An NCA source said due to the UK’s exit from the EU it lost access to the Schengen Information System (SIS II) and officers were therefore unable to make full checks on what was held in 2018 and have no record of anything on this subject prior to 2022.

The source said if a request had been received in 2018 and a credible UK link was established, it would have been sent to the relevant force for further enquiries as is normal practice.

An NCA spokeswoman said: “After receiving intelligence in 2022 indicating Franco Paderi, wanted on a TACA warrant, was in the UK, he was quickly located and arrested by officers from policing’s national extradition unit.”


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