Devil's advocate: Celebrity lawyer of Saddam Hussein, Gary Glitter and Ian Brady arrested over fraud allegations

A lawyer whose clients have included Saddam Hussein, Gary Glitter, Harold Shipman and Ian Brady has been arrested in Spain.

Giovanni Di Stefano, 55, was held at his luxury home on Majorca on Monday night over fraud allegations in the UK.

Yesterday he was under a police guard at a hospital on the island after telling Spanish detectives he was suffering from a serious illness.

Devil's advocate: Giovanni de Stefano has been charged with fraud at his holiday home in Spain

Devil's advocate: Giovanni de Stefano has been charged with fraud at his holiday home in Spain

A judge at a court in Palma will decide if he should be sent to the National Court in Madrid to face extradition proceedings.

A Spanish police source said Di Stefano was wanted on 18 counts of fraud, theft and money-laundering between 2004 and 2009.

Most of those charges relate to the alleged defrauding of clients.

A spokeswoman for the National Police in Majorca said: 'Giovanni Di Stefano, 55, was arrested at his home near Palma on Monday night on a European Arrest Warrant issued by a British court over a number of fraud allegations.

'He is currently in the Son Espases hospital in Palma where he is being treated and required surgery for an illness.'

Armed Spanish police acting on instructions from Interpol arrested the flamboyant lawyer at 9pm at his home on the Son Vida estate just outside the island's capital Palma.

Clients: Di Stefano represented Moors Murderer Ian Brady (left) and ex-singer Gary Glitter, who was convicted of possessing child pornography

Spanish police could not offer more details on what the fraud charges related to.

Di Stefano, a British-Italian who speaks English with a cockney accent, has been dubbed the Devil's Advocate for his role defending some of the world's most notorious villains.

He was one of several lawyers who worked for Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein before the dictator was executed in December 2006.

Di Stefano has claimed to have represent dozens of public hate figures.

Tyrants: The 55-year-old lawyer also dealt with cases for Serbian criminal Željko Ražnatović, called Arkan (left) and former Iraq President Saddam Hussein

The list includes convicted time-share fraudster John 'Goldfinger' Palma, Great Train robber Ronnie Biggs, mass murderers Jeremy Bamber and Dr Shipman, and Charles Bronson, dubbed Britain's most violent prisoner.

Di Stefano was close friends with Serbian warlord Željko Ražnatović, aka Arkan, before his assassination.

And he once described Saddam Hussein as 'an extremely logical and hard-working man'.

Asked once why he chose to defend such unsavoury characters he replied: 'We do not defend Snow White, who has committed no offence, unless she is with the seven perverts. In which case, she will need our services.'

Di Stefano was born in southern Italy but brought to Northamptonshire when he was five by his parents.

In 1999 he tried to buy Dundee Football Club, but the deal collapsed amid a protest from the fans when they discovered his links to Arkan.

And two years later he tried to win a seat on the board at Norwich City, but his bid was dismissed by majority shareholder Delia Smith.

In August 2003 he was appointed as a director of Dundee but resigned the following January.

Last September it was reported he was trying to buy the Dens Park club.

Di Stefano was jailed for five years for fraud in March 1986 and was banned from being a company director after trying to steal tens of thousands of pounds through cheques drawn on imaginary banks.

His appeal was dismissed in January 1987 when Lord Justice Stephen Brown concluded his trial had 'revealed a very deep and wide measure of fraudulent behaviour.'