AFP, Rome : Diego Maradona announced Friday he has asked the European Union (EU) to step in as arbitrator amid an ongoing feud with the Italian authorities over an alleged 39m euros in unpaid taxes. The Argentine football legend is accused of building up the huge tax bill during a spell playing in Italy where he led Napoli to their only two league titles, at the end of the 1980s and start of the 1990s. In 2005, he was ordered to pay 37.2 million euros, 23.5 million euros of which were interest on the debt. However Italian prosecutors resumed the trial from scratch in 2011 in what was seen as a victory by Maradona’s lawyer in Italy, Angelo Pisani. Italy clearly wants Maradona to pay up, but after announcing his case would be taken up at the EU by European deputy Crescenzio Rivellini, who belongs to the PDL party run by Silvio Berlusconi, Maradona claimed his innocence. “I’m being persecuted in Italy,” Maradona said Friday as he spoke to media at the Rome offices of the EU. “I’m not a fraudster. I don’t have 40 million euros, I haven’t even earned that much during my career.” Maradona’s tax woes resurfaced last October when he was served with papers over the alleged unpaid 39-million-euro debt while in Milan for a sponsored event. A source at the Equitalia tax recovery agency said that move had simply been formal procedure since the papers only have a 180-day validity and therefore have to be renewed whenever Maradona is in Italy.