Fresh leads in Norwegian amnesia mystery

OSLO - Norwegian police said Wednesday they had "interesting leads" a day after launching a public appeal to identify a foreigner suffering from amnesia whose identity has been a mystery for four months.

"We have received information from Norway but also from other countries and we find some of that information very interesting," Oslo police spokesman Sturla Henriksboe told AFP.

The police released a picture on Tuesday in an attempt to identify the man - who understands at least five languages and goes by the name John Smith - described as being in his 20s and with central European features.

The amnesiac was found helpless in the snow near a car wash in Oslo last December and told Norwegian media that he believed he had been drugged and assaulted.

Police have consulted Interpol and about 15 different countries with DNA and finger prints from the man but had come up empty until now.

The man, 1m 87 (6 feet 1 inch), with blue eyes and dark blonde hair, speaks good English with an Eastern European accent and understands Czech, Slovak, Polish and Russian.

He said he could not remember his name, nor how he came to be in Norway.

"It's particularly from the Czech Republic that we have received information," Henriksboe said.

In an interview with public broadcaster NRK the man said he had cuts on his body which appeared to indicate that he had been tied.

"The cuts were deep and it took several months before they healed," he said.

"It was totally clear my hands had been tied." Henriksboe, who works for the violent and sexual crimes unit at the Norwegian police force, confirmed that the man had marks and injuries on his body.