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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Briton mistaken for Mafia godfather hooded and arrested … but he was just an F1 fan out for lunch

The arrested man was eventually “sprung” by his Dutch lawyer, Leon van Kleef, from a maximum security jail in Vught.

He remained in prison until last Saturday, while his identity was checked by Italian authorities.

Mr van Kleef said: “Sometimes in the practise of law things that might go quick take ages. The press release has helped but it took three days. 

“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.”

Mr van Kleef said the British man did not wish to be identified and would not comment further on the case.

A spokeswoman for the Public Prosecutor’s Office said the arrested man stated he was “an English citizen and not the person claimed by Italy”.

She said: “The outcome of the investigation, which was conducted via an accelerated procedure, turned out to be negative.

“The public prosecutor then issued an immediate release order.”

Dutch prosecutors said in a statement that “the man arrested earlier this week in a Hague restaurant, is not the man sought by Italian authorities”.

An official told the NOS public broadcaster: “If they say ‘arrest this person’, we arrest that person. That’s the mutual agreement we have with them.”

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