The unsuspecting British holidaymaker was thought to be notorious Sicilian Mafia boss, Matteo Messina Denaro, 59. The Liverpool tourist was detained in a restaurant in the Hague, thought to be while he was enjoying lunch with his son and a friend. The owner of Het Pleidooi, the restaurant where the arrest took place, recounted the appearance of the elite armed forces. “Suddenly there were seven cars in front of the business. Officers with guns drawn,” they said, according to the Times.
He was then taken to a maximum-security prison in the south of the country.
The Briton has not yet been named, but has been referred to by his lawyer as “Mark”.
Matteo Messina Denaro is one of the most wanted criminals in the world, and has been a fugitive from justice since 1993.
Italian authorities currently have a European arrest warrant out for Messina Denaro, who is suspected of multiple counts of murder.
Messina Denaro was sentenced to life imprisonment nearly two decades ago, after a bombing which claimed the lives of ten people.
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The detainee is believed to be a 54-year-old man from Liverpool residing in Spain, who had travelled to the Netherlands to attend the grand prix in Zandvoort.
The man was held from September 8 to September 11.
It was then confirmed that he had no connection with the Sicilian mafia.
The police were using a computer-generated image of Messina Denaro to simulate what he might look like now, after almost three decades on the run.
The image had been circulated and publicised by the Italian and Dutch media.