words by Carol King George Clooney made a splash when he arrived in Venice for the International Film Festival driving a water taxi along the lagoon to his hotel. However, a Venetian lawyer has questioned whether the movie star has broken the law by presenting a petition to the authorities to verify that he has a professional nautical licence. Lawyer Mario D’Elia told the Italian newspaper ‘Corriere del Veneto’: “I asked the authorities to go to the Hotel Cipriani to see if Clooney has a nautical licence.” Legal experts have been reported as saying that the owners of the speedboat, rather than Clooney, would be liable for a fine if he is found to have been steering the vessel without a licence. The actor later joked at a press conference “coming here in a boat is one of the most difficult situations I have faced.” Clooney’s possible infraction comes at a time when local authorities are clamping down on water-traffic regulations after the death of a tourist in a gondola accident. If guilty, it will not be the first time that Clooney has flouted the rules: in May 2013, the Italian road-safety organisation Associazione Sostenitori ed Amici della Polizia Stradale wrote two open letters to the Hollywood actor to tell him to wear a regulation crash helmet. Clooney was in Venice for the premiere of the space thriller ‘Gravity’, which co-stars Sandra Bullock.
Lawyer Questions If Clooney Has Licence To Drive Venice Speedboat