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Armed Police In Netherlands Arrest Scouser Mistaken For Italian Mafia Boss

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Armed Police In Netherlands Arrest Scouser Mistaken For Italian Mafia Boss

A scouser was arrested by armed police in the Netherlands after being mistaken for an Italian mafia boss.

The man - identified only as 54-year-old Mark L - was having lunch with his son and a friend in The Hague last Wednesday (8 September) when he was hooded, handcuffed and taken away to a maximum security prison, his lawyer said.

The arrest came after Italy asked Dutch authorities to execute an international arrest warrant for Sicilian crime boss, Matteo Messina Denaro - who has been in hiding since 1993.

A photofit of the wanted man. Credit: PA
A photofit of the wanted man. Credit: PA
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Denaro - nicknamed 'Diabolik' - is wanted for 50 murders and is the 'capo di tutti capi' (the boss of all bosses) of the Sicilian Mafia.

Conversely, the arrested man was a British Formula One fan with a thick Scouse accent who was staying in the Netherlands after watching the Dutch Grand Prix.

His lawyer Leon van Kleef was eventually able to get him out of jail in Vught, and said it would have taken a 'genius' Italian to put on such a strong Scouse accent.

He told the PA news agency: "Sometimes in the practise of law things that might go quick take ages. The press release has helped but it took three days.

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"I went to the press in the hope of speeding things up because normally it's a matter of time.

"You can imagine. He had anger and disbelief and laughter. Because it is ludicrous.

"He is a normal Formula One fan.

"I was always convinced he was not it. It would have been a genius of an Italian to have such a strong Liverpool accent."

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Van Kleef said the mix-up was so ridiculous that it amused his client's wife.

He told The Guardian: "When my client's wife, who was initially worried, realised it was a misunderstanding and that her husband had been arrested under the accusation of being Matteo Messina Denaro, she couldn't stop laughing."

He added that his client did not want to be identified and would not comment further on the case, but they would be looking into compensation.

Netherlands' public prosecution service said in a statement: "The man was arrested on the basis of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by the Italian authorities. He stated that he was an English citizen and not the person claimed by Italy.

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"Last Friday he was brought before the public prosecutor in Amsterdam.

"The man's detention was then extended, because the investigation into his identity had not yet been completed.

"The outcome of the investigation, which was conducted via an accelerated procedure, turned out to be negative.

"Early in the evening, the public prosecutor issued an immediate release order."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Police, World News, UK News, Netherlands, crime, Italy

Jake Massey
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