Italian man suspected of having stolen the identity of American star George Clooney to create a fashion label and ripping off people online has been arrested with his wife in Thailand after years on the run, police said on Sunday.
Francesco Galdelli, 58, and Vanja Goffi, 45, were arrested Saturday in a house in the suburbs of Pattaya (center) during a joint operation between the Thai and Italian authorities. “During the interrogation, Francesco confessed to pretending to be George Clooney and launching an online clothing brand to scam people,” said the Thai crime suppression division in a statement.
Testimony of George Clooney
In 2010, George Clooney testified against the couple, and an accomplice, during a hearing in Milan. He was then presented with a stack of advertising photos representing him with the clothes of this fashion line and documents supposed to bear his signature, which the American star had designated as fake.
“It’s a fake, on this picture I smoke, but I do not smoke”, “fake, I do not have a watch like that” or “false, this signature is not mine”, had- he ginned.
According to the police, the couple was also wanted in Italy for other packages, including selling fake Rolex watches online. The couple, who have been on a red notice from Interpol since 2013, sometimes mocked their victims by sending packets of salt instead of watches. These crimes had earned them the nickname of “Bonnie and Clyde Italians”, in reference to the couple of famous American robbers of the Great Depression.
The luxurious residence of the couple was monitored thanks to a drone, the Italian police said in a statement. “They stayed in Thailand from 2014 and never left the country,” the police said, adding that a court would try them under Thailand’s immigration laws before extradition proceedings began. Pattaya, the Thai resort where they had taken refuge, is known to be a hub of prostitution and crime in Thailand.