Italian prosecutors have reportedly sought to have the captain of the Costa Concordia detained, after he allegedly entered talks to appear on an Italian reality TV show off the coast of Honduras.
Francesco Schettino, who was given the nickname Captain Coward by Italian media, was found guilty last week of manslaughter, abandoning ship and shipwreck, but will not be jailed until the appeals process has been exhausted, according to The Times.
Prosecutors have allegedly asserted he is a flight risk and is in negotiations to appear on the Italian version of the TV show Survivor for €2.5 million.
However, it has been revealed that the talks were a hoax created by a programme called La Iene (The Hyenas), an Italian satirical show. It had claimed to have held talks with Schettino’s agent. However, the assertion was enough for prosecutors to demand that Schettino be grounded.
The programme had broadcast what it claimed to be a man representing Schettino, who said a fee had been agreed to appear as a celebrity castaway on The Island of the Famous. He went on to explain that payment would need to be carefully arranged, however, because Italian courts would likely confiscate it.
“Among the elements that convinced us to apply for his arrest was undoubtedly the recent episode of Le Iene,” Maria Navarro, the Grosseto public prosecutor, told the newspaper.
Schettino has denied any knowledge of the negotiations, and his lawyer, Donato Laino, denounced the arrest application as “a request based on nothing — or rather on a hoax”, according to The Times.