Italy paparazzo Fabrizio Corona facing European warrant

Fabrizio Corona Corona escaped police surveillance on Friday morning

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A Europe-wide arrest warrant has been issued for Italy's most famous paparazzo photographer, Fabrizio Corona.

He disappeared on Friday just before a court confirmed his conviction in a blackmail case.

Corona was found guilty of demanding money from former international footballer David Trezeguet in return for potentially embarrassing pictures.

He was given a five-year sentence and now faces further time in prison.

The photographer's flight from the law means an additional two years and 10 months will be added to his jail term, the Italian news agency Ansa reports.

Milan's Interpol mobile squad is leading the search for the high-profile fugitive, it adds.

With his photo agency, Corona became a central figure in the celebrity culture that has revolved around the media empire of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the BBC's Alan Johnston reports from Rome.

He had a previous conviction following an investigation into extortion by paparazzi mounted in 2007.

In the country where the business of selling snatched pictures of the famous began - and which gave the world the word "paparazzo"-, Corona has been dubbed Italy's "King of the Paparazzi", our correspondent says.

Other celebrities were reportedly targeted by Corona in the same way as Mr Trezeguet, including a member of the Berlusconi family.

Corona had argued that he had never blackmailed anyone but had simply given celebrities a chance to buy compromising photos, and so take the pictures out of circulation.

He said he had offered them at the same price that a magazine would pay.

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