Mafia banker Vito Palazzolo 'held in Thailand'

Italy's carabinieri, file image Italy's carabinieri police said they had tracked Palazzolo on social media

An Italian banker convicted for having links to the mafia has been arrested in Thailand, authorities say.

Vito Palazzolo, 64, was given nine years in jail for laundering money for the Sicily-based Cosa Nostra.

He was implicated in the so-called Pizza Connection, a mafia operation that smuggled drugs into the US during the 1970s and early 1980s, and used pizza restaurants as a front.

Palazzolo has always denied the charges and says he will fight extradition.

He has spent decades on the run, most of the time in South Africa.

The South African government had refused to allow his extradition back to Italy.

The Italian authorities say they tracked him to Thailand by monitoring his family's use of social-networking websites.

The authorities say he laundered tens of millions of dollars for the Cosa Nostra while he was working as a banker in Switzerland.

Palazzolo has previously said he processed funds for the mafia group in 1982, but argued that he had been threatened.

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