AN Italian man found in Edinburgh with apparent memory loss is being questioned by police in his home country amid reports he searched the internet for “how to disappear without a trace”.
Salvatore Mannino, 52, was discovered in St Giles’ Cathedral last month and had no idea who he was, according to Police Scotland.
The businessman had gone missing from Lajatico, near Pisa, the previous day after taking his children to school.
According to reports in the Italian media, Mr Mannino has been charged with “violating his family assistance obligations”.
Ansa, an Italian news agency, reported that investigators had found searches on his laptop of how to disappear without a trace.
It has been reported that Mr Mannino, who remains under supervision in hospital, tried to close joint bank accounts belonging to him and his wife, moving the money to accounts under her name only.
Before leaving the family home, he left a briefcase with €10,500 and a sheet of paper with a numerical sequence, a code which was deciphered by his eldest son, 18.
Aerospace student Filippo told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera earlier this month: “It was a message Dad left me to decipher, I am sure of it, because he knew I am passionate about mathematical games.”
Mr Mannino is also said to have checked the weather forecast for Edinburgh and Aberdeen before leaving Italy.
Mr Mannino, a former supermarket manager, was described as “tranquil” and “happy” before going missing.
He left his mobile phone behind, with the recent call history deleted.
Ansa said Mr Mannino had been questioned at length by the carabinieri, Italy’s military police.
Mr Mannino, who claims to be unable to speak Italian, has been communicating in basic English.
When police in Edinburgh were called to reports of a man “taking unwell” last month, he was not carrying any ID.
Two weeks later officers issued an appeal to help identify a “man with no memory”.
During the public appeal for information, they used the Italian’s tattoos – a butterfly on his upper left arm; a seahorse on his upper right arm; Chinese writing on the inner part of his upper left arm and Chinese writing on the inner part of his upper right arm – to help identify him.
At the time, Constable Lesley Jack said: “This is a very unusual inquiry, as we have a member of the public who has no idea about who he is, where he is from or who we can call on his behalf.
“As is standard practice, we have reviewed all relevant missing people and the man does not match the description of anyone currently reported missing.
“We hope that, by issuing this detailed description, someone will recognise this male and come forward to assist with our inquiries.”
Mr Mannino’s wife and eldest child later flew to Edinburgh, but he claimed not to know who they were.
He is being assessed at a psychiatric ward in Pisa, where doctors are yet to diagnose his condition.
His account of what happened to him has also not convinced his relatives, it has been reported.
According to Italian media reports, investigators believe he is putting on an act and “understands Italian perfectly well”.