Footballer who can’t play faces extradition to the Netherlands

A social media photograph of Verhagen with a Viborg shirt

A 29-year-old man who posed as a successful footballer, living the high life and failing to pay his bills, is to be extradited from Colombia to the Netherlands, the AD reported on Tuesday.

Bernio Verhagen is not only a fraudster and conman but is also wanted his role in three violent robberies in the Netherlands in 2020 and 2021, the public prosecution department has told the paper.

Verhagen, who was born in Suriname but grew up in Tilburg, hit the headlines in November 2019 when it emerged he had fooled Danish first division football club Viborg into signing him. But he was taken off the pitch at the very first training session due to his “footballing qualities”.

That, “coupled with a very messy private life” reinforced the suspicion that something was wrong, Viborg said in a statement at the time. It later transpired he had managed to con his way into lucrative contracts with four clubs on three continents.  He is still listed on the website.

Read the Vice article on his career

Verhagen is currently in jail in Colombia after being arrested in summer 2021 after party with sex workers got out of hand when he had no money to pay them. Police then uncovered the extent of his crimes, and a string of unpaid hotel and restaurant bills, local media reported.

Although the green light for his extradition has been signed, as yet it is unclear when he will be sent back to the Netherlands.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation