A Liverpool man named Mark was in a restaurant with his son when police arrested him for believing he was a godfather of the Cosa Nostra, which has been on the run since 1993
A British man with a heavy Scouse accent was arrested in the Netherlands after being mistaken for a Sicilian Mafia boss – one of the most wanted criminals in Europe.
The Liverpool father was at a restaurant in The Hague with his son when armed police attacked and arrested him Washington Post reports.
The police were looking for Matteo Messina Denaro (59), a godfather of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, who has been on the run since 1993.
He rose to fame with a reputation as a playboy after being featured in a 2020 Netflix documentary titled “World’s Most Wanted”.
But instead of arresting a die-hard criminal, the authorities actually took the father from Liverpool (without his full identity), said his lawyer Leon van Kleef.
His legal representative added that his client had a heavy Scouse accent, while Europol described Denaro as only speaking Italian.
Mr van Kleef said Mark was “more than surprised, you might say” after being arrested, but “it was a matter of time before the situation was resolved”.
Denaro faces life imprisonment after being sentenced to another life sentence in his absence last October for the 1992 murder of two anti-Mafia prosecutors.
Nicknamed Diabolik after a comic book villain, he is known for his love of fast cars and fashion.
Studio camera Di Lannino / REX / Shutterstock)
In the Netflix documentary, he claimed he killed enough people “to fill a small cemetery”.
The alleged murders of Denaro included bombings in Florence, Rome and Milan, it is said.
In 1993 he was alleged to have been involved in the kidnapping of 12-year-old Giuseppe Di Matteo to prevent his father from testifying against the Mafia, the boy reportedly being strangled and his body dissolved in acid.
POLICE / EPA / REX / Shutterstock)
Italian authorities have computer-generated images of what they believe the criminal looks like now, and that could be behind the mix-up.
Van Kleef said his client, Mark, had been taken to a maximum security prison, but then the prosecution dropped the charges when it became clear that he was not the man with a European arrest warrant.