Mafia don bust goes wrong
THE HAGUE: Dutch law authorities have released a British Formula 1 fan after he was mistakenly arrested on suspicion being a notorious Sicilian Mafia boss.
The man, only identified by his lawyer as Mark L, 54, from Liverpool, was cuffed and blindfolded on Wednesday when heavily armed police stormed a restaurant in The Hague, shocking onlookers.
The arrest came after Italy issued an international arrest warrant, believing that the man was Matteo Messina Denaro, a leading Sicilian Mafia boss on the run since 1993.
“The man arrested earlier this week in a Hague restaurant, is not the man sought by Italian authorities,” the Dutch public prosecutor’s office said. “He has been freed immediately.”
His lawyer Leon van Kleef said there were suspicions of a mix-up from the start.
“My client told me he was from Spain, where he now lives, and was here for the Formula 1 race last weekend in Zandvoort,” Van Kleef said.
“I had a strong hunch to believe him.”
After his arrest Mark L was taken to Vught maximum security prison, where some of the country’s most notorious criminals are held.
“It’s like a bad movie, a nightmare that my client has found himself in,” said Van Kleef, who revealed Mark L would look into seeking compensation.