Italian George Clooney ‘imposter’ arrested in Thailand for fraud

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.

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

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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Newcastle fan stabbed in Milan ahead of Champions League match

Hooded attackers stabbed a Newcastle United supporter in Milan ahead of the Champions League match between AC Milan and the English club, Italian police said on Tuesday.

Newcastle fan stabbed in Milan ahead of Champions League match

The unnamed British man, who was with a friend, did not suffer life-threatening injuries in Monday’s attack, a police source said.

“The 58-year-old man was approached by a group of people wearing hoods. They injured his arm and back. He was taken to hospital in Milan, which he will be able to leave shortly,” the source said.

Police have launched an investigation into whether the attack was linked to the match or not.

Newcastle said they were “deeply concerned” and were “liaising with local authorities to understand the circumstances”.

“Our thoughts are with the supporter and their family and we hope for a full and speedy recovery.”

Italian club AC Milan host Newcastle on Tuesday in their opening game of the Champions League group stage.