Vito Palazzolo has been extradited from a prison in Thailand to Italy, a report said.

Johannesburg - Vito Palazzolo has been extradited from a prison in Thailand to Italy, the Sunday Times reported.

Palazzolo, 66 was flown from Bankong's Klong Prem Prison on Thursday, to start a nine year sentence in the high security Opera Prison, in Milan, which is reserved for members of the mafia, according to the report.

The Sunday Times reported that a South African detective tipped off the Italian authorities when he heard Palazzolo had travelled to Thailand on holiday.

At the time, Palazzolo, who lived in Cape Town, had for 26 years evaded the FBI, Italian, and Swiss authorities, and a task team put together by former president Nelson Mandela, for 26 years.

“I told them where he was because he is a crook and he has, over so many years, always got away. I ratted him out,” the unnamed policeman reportedly told the newspaper.

According to the Sunday Times, Palazzolo arrived in Johannesburg, in 1986 from Frankfurt, in Germany, travelling on a false passport as Stelio Domenico Frapoli. There was an international warrant for his arrest.

In South Africa he changed his name to Roberto von Palace Kolbatschenko.

Two days before landing in South Africa, he had escaped from prison in Switzerland where he was serving a sentence for financial irregularity.

He had pleaded guilty in Switzerland to dodge Italian authorities, who wanted him for “criminal association with the purpose of drug trafficking” in an international syndicate known as the Pizza Connection.

Sapa