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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008, 00:17 GMT
'FBI fugitive' is innocent German
This German couple were thought to resemble Mr Bulger and his companion
The FBI released video of the couple after experts examined it
A couple filmed at the Sicilian resort of Taormina last year have been identified as innocent Germans and not a top FBI fugitive and his girlfriend.

The holidaymakers had been thought to be alleged crime boss James J Bulger, on the run since 1994, and his girlfriend Catherine Grieg.

FBI agents had travelled to Europe to publicise the video after facial recognition experts raised the alert.

"Whitey" Bulger, now in his late 70s, is wanted on 18 counts of murder.

Other charges include racketeering and extortion.

The FBI says it is grateful to the German couple for coming forward to assist the investigation, after agents appeared on a German crime programme appealing for help.

They said that the hunt for the real James Bulger goes on.

'London sightings'

JAMES BULGER DESCRIPTION
Around 5' 8" tall
Weighs around 11 stone
White hair, blue eyes
Pronounced Boston accent
Animal lover
Takes heart medication

The suspect's face appears on the FBI's website beneath that of Osama Bin Laden.

The fugitive is the alleged "godfather" of an Irish-American crime gang that operated in Boston, Massachusetts, in the 1970s and 1980s.

He disappeared shortly before being arrested on racketeering charges.

He has since been identified as a long-term FBI informant who turned in rival gangsters.

James Bulger in a photograph taken in 1994 displayed on the FBI website
James Bulger is one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives

According to the US authorities, Mr Bulger has a violent temper and always carries a knife.

FBI agents have previously visited London following a reported sighting in Piccadilly in 2002.

A businessman said he had seen Mr Bulger near the Meridian Hotel on 10 September 2002, and had also seen him in the hotel's gym in 1994.



SEE ALSO
Fugitive hunt focuses on London
10 Feb 03 |  England
Brother of US fugitive resigns
07 Aug 03 |  Americas
FBI steps up hunt for 'Whitey'
10 Feb 03 |  Europe

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