A British F1 fan from Liverpool who Dutch cops mistook for an Italian mafia boss was arrested at gunpoint in a restaurant in front of his son and thrown in a high-security prison before being released after a four-day nightmare.
The confused Brit reportedly pleaded with the cops telling them in his scouser accent “I’m not your Italian mafia boss” but they refuse to listen.
The Liverpudlian identified only as Mark L, 54, was arrested at gunpoint by Dutch police who believe him to be Matteo Messina Denaro, 59, alias ‘Diabolik’, a Sicilian mafia boss who is wanted for a series of bombings 19 years ago that killed 10 people.
Mark was arrested last Wednesday (8th of September) by heavily-armed Dutch police in a restaurant in the Hague and kept in the Vught maximum security prison alongside the most dangerous criminals in the country.
Mark was held at the facility for four days before Dutch police, who made the arrest in response to an Italian warrant, confirmed they got the wrong guy and released him on Saturday (11th September).
‘Diabolik’ is a Sicilian mafia boss who got this nickname from an Italian comic book character and is believed to be one of the leaders of the infamous ‘Cosa nostra’ mafia.
Diabolik has been a fugitive since 1993 after series of bombing attacks in the Via dei Georgofili in Florence, in Via Palestro in Milan, in the Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano and Via San Teodoro in Rome, which killed 10 people and injured 93.
The Italian court convicted him of murder in 2002 in absentia and sentenced him to life imprisonment claiming that Denaro and other members of Cosa Nostra carried out the bombings with the intention of intimidating the courts to halt prosecution against high-level mafia bosses.
He has been on the run since and is one of Italy’s and the world’s most wanted fugitives.
Mark, an F1 fan originally from Liverpool now living in Spain, was visiting Holland for the Zandvoort Grand Prix when heavily armed police burst into the restaurant where he was eating lunch with his son.
Local news site Nos reports that the cops blindfolded Mark, threw him in the back of a police car and drove him directly to the maximum-security Vught prison where some of Holland’s most wanted criminals are kept.
Nos report that Van Kleef, Mark’s lawyer, said: “I would fall off my chair if I this was Italy’s most wanted mobster. The moment he opened his mouth I could hear his northern English accent.”
The authorities said that they were holding the suspect until the Italians confirmed that he wasn’t the right guy.
The Dutch authorities said on Saturday: “The man arrested last Wednesday is not the man Italy is looking for.”
They explained the mix-up saying: “We received a request to make the arrest from the Italians and we had to comply.”
They added: “If a European arrest warrant is issued we have to follow through the same way the Italians would have to make an arrest if we made the request.”
Kleef confirmed that his client had been released and he says that they are now looking into the possibility of seeking compensation.
Kleef added that the ordeal had been a nightmare for his client: “Imagine one moment you are having a bit to eat and the next you are sat in a maximum-security Dutch prison.”