AN Italian lawyer, who acted as a consultant to Saddam Hussein's defence team, was arrested at his Son Vida home on the outskirts of Palma on Monday night on suspicion of fraud, robbery and money laundering on a British warrant issued by the City of London Police, the National Police confirmed yesterday.
Raised in the United Kingdom, but based in Italy, he has built up a reputation claiming to act as a lawyer for high-profile notorious defendants worldwide - he has been referred to as The Devil's Advocate.
Other notable people that Giovanni Di Stefano has represented include: Tariq Aziz; Patrick Holland; Jeremy Bamber; Nicholas van Hoogstraten; John Gilligan; Charles Bronson (known as Britain's most dangerous prisoner); Ali Hassan al-Majid (known as Chemical Ali, whose death sentence Di Stefano tried, but failed, to overturn); Gary Glitter; Birgit Cunningham (on her child support payment complaints against the son of billionaire Sir Nicholas Nuttal); Ian Brady; and Ian Strachan (one of the defendants in the 2007 royal blackmail plot).
He also represented the Great Train Robber Ronald Biggs in his claims for release from prison and, in 2004 Di Stefano jumped again to fame when he claimed to be acting for serial killer Harold Shipman in television interviews.
Last night it was reported that Di Stefano had told Palma police that his arrest was politically motivated because of his involvement in legal moves to bring former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to trial over the Iraq war.
Di Stefano was taken to Son Espases hospital after his arrest and will undergo surgery for a cancer related condition, Spanish police said, but refused to give further details. It is not clear how long Di Stefano had been living here in Majorca but the National Police released a statement last night which said that his arrest is part of an on going investigating into money earned by Di Stefano in the United Kingdom between 2004 and 2009 while practicing as a defense lawyer which he is not apparently licensed to do, according to the police.
FACING 18 CHARGES
According to the National Police, the City of London force is looking into substantial amounts of money made by Di Stefano during the period under investigation.
Apparently, in the year 2003, the services of the Italian were hired by the wife of a prisoner in jail for life to lodge an appeal against the sentence for 120'000 Pounds. The appeal in this case was apparently never lodged.
Shortly after, his services were hired by two other clients who did not realise Di Stefano was not qualified to practice in the British courts, said the police.
British police are also investigating a vehicle he purchased in 2004 but allegedly never paid for and had shipped out of the country. According to the National Police report, Di Stefano was hired and paid by three other clients but he failed to honour the contracts. The Italian is facing 18 counts of wrongdoing for which the prosecution in the UK is calling for a 75 year sentence.His arrest was the result of a closely coordination operation between the British police and the National Police.