Brit arrested in restaurant and blindfolded after being mistaken for Mafia don

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A stunned Liverpool man was arrested in a Dutch restaurant by heavily armed police who mistook him for a notorious Italian Mafia boss who has been on the run for nearly 30 years.

The Brit had been in the Netherlands for a Grand Prix event when the arrest took place in Hauge on Wednesday, September 8, the Liverpool Echo reported.

The man, referred to only as Mark by his lawyer, was then blindfolded and taken to a high security prison while investigations into his identity were carried out, reports in the Netherlands said.

He had reportedly been mistaken for 59-year-old mafia don Matteo Messina Denaro, a man who is suspected of several murders, including the slaying of two judges, and has been on the run since 1993.

Italy has issued a European arrest warrant for the mafia boss who remains one of the most wanted criminals in the world.

A computer aged photofit of what they suspect Denaro to now look like since his disappearance in 1993 has been widely circulated by both Italian and Dutch media outlets.

Following the arrest, the detained man's lawyer said it had been a case of mistaken identity.

He argued that his client was a 54-year-old Formula One fan from Liverpool (now living in Spain) who was planning to attend the grand prix in Zandvoort, a municipality in the province of North Holland.

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It has now been established that the man is not the wanted Italian fugitive and has since been released, according to the public prosecution service in the Netherlands.

Posting on their website, a spokesperson for the prosecution service said: "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.

"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."

  • Crime

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