Cobblers’ suitor Di Stefano guilty of 25 counts of fraud

Giovanni Di Stefano Picture by Sean Dempsey/PA Wire
Giovanni Di Stefano Picture by Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

A self-styled Italian lawyer who once tried to buy Northampton Town and later became known as the Devil’s Advocate because of his links to the likes of Saddam Hussein and Robert Mugabe, has been found guilty today of tricking people into thinking he was a bona fide legal professional.

Giovanni di Stefano, who earned his nickname for taking on “unwinnable” cases, was convicted on 25 charges including deception, fraud and money laundering between 2001 and 2011.

The 57-year-old conned clients out of millions of pounds by setting himself up as a lawyer when he had no legal qualifications and was not registered to work as a lawyer in Italy or the UK.

He used the Italian word “avvocato” on business cards, letterheads and identification documents to give clients - and the judiciary - the impression he was an advocate.

Di Stefano did not react as the 25 guilty verdicts were delivered at London’s Southwark Crown Court