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Appeal over Mafia bail go-ahead

An appeal will be launched against a decision to grant bail to a fugitive Mafia boss arrested in London after evading Italian authorities for 20 years.

Domenico Rancadore, 64, is wanted in Italy to serve a seven-year jail term for his role as "a man of honour" in the Cosa Nostra, collecting bribes from builders in Trabia near Palermo.

Chief magistrate Howard Riddle granted him bail at Westminster Magistrates' Court today, but he was not released after prosecutor Hannah Hinton issued notice to lodge an appeal against the decision. She told the court that the appeal will be heard at the High Court either tomorrow or on Wednesday.

Rancadore sat in the dock wearing a blue shirt, patterned cardigan and black trousers.

Karen Todner of Kaim Todner Solicitors, who are representing Rancadore, said in a statement: "Mr Rancadore continues to oppose extradition.

"Kaim Todner have elicited reports and information throwing doubt on the application for extradition and are hopeful of successfully defeating the application."

Rancadore was arrested on August 8 at his upmarket semi-detached home in Uxbridge, west London, where he lived under the false name Marc Skinner with his English wife and children.

He told officers on his arrest that he was not going back to Italy because "they will kill me", the court heard previously.

The conditions of bail set out by the chief magistrate included £50,000 security, residency at his home, a curfew, wearing an electronic tag, reporting to a local police station twice daily, providing his phone number and keeping his mobile switched on and not applying for foreign travel documents.

The court has previously heard that Rancadore was a leader in a murderous gang that "spread terror in Sicily".

He was convicted of Mafia links in Italy in his absence after he had come to live in the UK with his family in 1993.

Italian prosecutors claim that he received around £3,500 in bribe money, and "ensured strict compliance with the rules of the organisation", the court has heard.

He was found guilty of being part of the gang between December 1987 and April 1995.

Rancadore was acquitted of previous Mafia charges in 1993 after spending months in custody and more than two years under house arrest.

The full hearing for extradition will be heard in February.

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