A Formula 1 fan from Liverpool was arrested at gunpoint in the Netherlands after being mistaken for a mafia boss.
Police in The Hague believed the 54-year-old, known as Mark L, was Sicilian crime lord Matteo Messina Denaro, and he was blindfolded and led away by officers on Wednesday.
Prosecutors said the man, who was in the country on September 5 to watch the Dutch Grand Prix, was later released.
Denaro, 59, is wanted in connection with bombings in 1993 that killed ten people and injured 93 others.
Mark L was eating with his son at a restaurant when police burst in, carrying a European Arrest Warrant issued by Italian authorities.
Leon van Kleef, his lawyer, described the situation as “like a bad movie, a nightmare that my client has found himself in.”
“Imagine one moment you’re having a bite to eat and the next you’re sat in a maximum-security Dutch prison,” he continued.
He stated that his client “expressed anger, disbelief, and laughter because it is ludicrous.”
“He’s a typical Formula One fan. I was always convinced he wasn’t the one. An Italian with such a strong Liverpool accent would have been a genius.”
‘Boss of all bosses’
According to a spokeswoman for the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office, Mark L stated that he was an English citizen and that he was innocent.
She went on to say that the investigation, which was conducted in a hurried manner, “turned out to be negative.”
“At the start of the evening, the public prosecutor issued an immediate release order,” she explained.
Denaro, Italy’s most wanted mafioso, has been hiding since 1993 and once boasted that he could “fill a cemetery” with his victims.
He is also known as Diabolik, a nickname he got from an uncatchable thief in a comic book, and is regarded as the heir to two imprisoned Mafia godfathers.
He is wanted for 50 murders and is the Sicilian Mafia’s “capo di tutti capi,” or “boss of all bosses.”
Mark L, according to Mr van Kleef, did not want to be identified and would not comment further on the case.