Cosa Nostra 'man of honor' denied bail in London court
LONDON (Reuters) - A Sicilian mafioso fighting extradition to Italy after living quietly in Britain for two decades under an assumed name was denied bail on Friday in a London court.
Domenico Rancadore, who was known to his neighbors in the London suburb of Uxbridge as Marc Skinner, was described in court as "one of the heads of an armed criminal organization known as Cosa Nostra".
Rancadore, 64, was first arrested on an Italian warrant on Thursday. After concerns were raised about the warrant, Italy issued a new one on Friday and he was re-arrested on court premises.
Nicknamed "u profissuri" (the professor) in Sicilian dialect, he is the son of Giuseppe Rancadore, former boss of a Mafia clan in Trabia near Palermo, who is serving a life sentence in jail.
Prosecutor Benjamin Siefert said Domenico Rancadore had been tried in his absence in Italy and convicted to seven years in prison over Mafia activities from 1987 to 1995.
"Mr Rancadore was considered a 'man of honor'," Siefert told the court.
Quoting from the warrant issued by a prosecutor in Palermo, Siefert said Cosa Nostra was "made up of thousands of members spreading terror in Sicily ... and systematically murdering anybody who did not comply with the will of the members of the organization".
He said that Rancadore had been in charge of a territory around Trabia and had ensured strict compliance with Cosa Nostra rules in the area.
Dressed in a light blue shirt, the tanned, grey-haired Rancadore sat with his arms crossed in the dock, shaking his head as the prosecutor spoke and making frequent eye contact with his wife and daughter.
His defense lawyer, Euan Macmillan, said Rancadore had arrived in Britain with his wife Anne, who is British, and their two young children in 1993.
The family had been settled in their semi-detached suburban home in Uxbridge for the past 13 years. Macmillan said the property was worth 300,000 pounds ($465,800) and Uxbridge was "not a luxurious address".
The lawyer said the family had chosen to use the wife's family name, Skinner, and that Rancadore "did not go out much".
Judge Quentin Purdy denied him bail, telling him that he had "actively evaded apprehension for a significant period" and that "police have had some difficulty in tracing you".
Rancadore was remanded in custody until the next hearing, scheduled for August 22.
(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Michael Roddy)
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