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Italian George Clooney 'imposter' arrested in Thailand for fraud

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 Italian George Clooney 'imposter' arrested in Thailand for fraud
Italian national Francesco Galdelli (C) after he was arrested on Sunday. Photo: Crime Suppression Division/Royal Thai Police
08:44 CEST+02:00
An Italian man who allegedly posed as Hollywood superstar George Clooney to sell clothes online has been arrested with his wife in Thailand after years on the run, police said Sunday.

Francesco Galdelli, 58, and Vanja Goffi, 45, were arrested Saturday at a house on the outskirts of Pattaya after an operation between Thai and Italian authorities, officials said.

"During interrogation, Francesco confessed to claiming to be George Clooney and opening a clothes business to trick people into sending money," a statement from Thailand's Crime Suppression Division said.

Photo: Crime Suppression Division/Royal Thai Police

The couple is also wanted in Italy for multiple scams including sellin fake Rolex watches online, the statement said.

They sometimes mocked their victims by sending packets of salt instead of the timepieces.

Their crimes led them to be dubbed the Italian 'Bonnie and Clyde' after the notorious American bank robbers of the Great Depression era.

Read also: Kiwigate: Police uncover massive Italian fruit fraud

Footage from a police drone showed the pair - wanted on an Interpol red notice since 2013 - carrying a bag as they were taken into custody.

They were nabbed after police surrounded their luxury compound in a stakeout using electronic surveillance and a drone, Italian police said in a statement.

Actor George Clooney told Italian judges Galdelli had used his name online. Photo: AFP

The case against them stretches back several years after Clooney told a Milan court that they and another accomplice had fraudulently used his name to promote a fashion range.

Pattaya, the Thai town where they were found holed up, is infamous as a hideout for gangsters and criminals from across the world.

"They stayed in Thailand since 2014 and never left," police said, adding that a Thai court will charge them under local immigration laws before extradition proceedings begin.

READ ALSO: How you can join the Clooneys for lunch on Lake Como

 

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