Published Wednesday, 06 March 2013
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It had been reported that 63-year-old Harry Fitzsimons from west Belfast was among 20 people held by Italian police, following raids in the southern Italian town of Reggio on Tuesday.
Assets worth up to €450m, including holiday villages and companies, have been seized by officers.
Italian finance police carried out the raids as they moved against the 'Ndrangheta crime network, based in Calabria.
Mr Fitzsimons owns a company VFI, which promotes the sale of Jewel of the Sea, a development in Calabria in Southern Italy which is currently at the centre of a legal dispute.
On Wednesday the Italian police investigating a money laundering operation by the mafia in Calabria, named him as a suspect.
But Dan McGuinness, his lawyer, told UTV he totally denies any involvement.
"He said he was absolutely stunned by the allegations. The only way he heard about them was that he was emailed a link by a member of the family," Mr McGuinness said.
"He has not been involved in any organisations, mafia or otherwise, this was a simple legitimate business dealing as far as he was concerned. He was promoting the sale of the properties."
The lawyer says Mr Fitzsimons is not in Northern Ireland at the moment and doesn't know anything about a warrant for his arrest.
He said the businessman was previously convicted for an explosives offence between 1972 and 1981, but has had no link with paramilitaries since his release.
He added: "This suggestion that he was laundering money for the IRA, he says, is just ludicrous."