Palace star arrested over drugs bust

Last updated : 12 May 2006 By Nik Taylor

Former Crystal Palace striker Michele Padovano has been arrested and charged with involvement in an international drug smuggling ring.

It is alleged that the 39-year-old was one of the backers of a group trafficking hashish into Italy from Spain and Morocco.

He is one of 33 people being held by police in Italy following a bust involving 2300kg of drugs said to be worth 14 million Euros (£9.5m).

Italian fourth division side Alexandria immediately sacked Padovano from his post as general director following his arrest.

Padovano has denied any wrongdoing.

Padovano was signed for Palace during the ill-fated Mark Goldberg era, making twelve appearances during the 1997/98 season. He scored a solitary goal during that time, before leaving for French club Metz on a free transfer.

In 2000, Padovano was listed in an Observer feature entitled "The 10 worst foreign signings of all time". He came fourth – with former teammate Tomas Brolin heading the list.