A British Formula 1 fan was arrested in the Netherlands last week after being mistaken for a Sicilian mobster, one of Europe’s most wanted fugitives. The 54-year-old man, identified by his lawyer as simply Mark L, was arrested by heavily armed police while dining with his son at a restaurant in The Hague. The main target of the Dutch police was 59-year-old Southern Italian mob boss Matteo Messina Denaro, known as the father of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra.
But Mark L’s lawyer said the man they arrested was born and raised in England, adding that his client has a heavy Scouse accent unique to the northern English city of Liverpool and difficult to fake. In the definition of the European Union’s law enforcement agency Europol, Messina Denaro‘s only language is listed as Italian.
Mark L, who was reported to have been taken to a maximum security prison in the Netherlands, was brought before prosecutors.
He was released after authorities confirmed that the man they had arrested was not the man wanted by the Italian authorities under a European arrest warrant. Van Kleef said Dutch prosecutors dropped the case.
No Explanation Was Given For The Confusion
Dutch and Italian prosecutors, who were expected to comment on the incident, could not be reached. Italian authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how the arrest mess in the Netherlands occurred.
“If they say arrest this person, we will arrest that person, that’s our mutual agreement with them,” a Dutch official told public channel NOS.