Italian fugitive Cesare Battisti says he did not immediately seek political asylum when he arrived in Brazil because he followed bad advice from acquaintances.

Folha de S. Paulo reports that Battisti made the comment Thursday in a court appearance to determine if he illegally entered on a false passport.

Battisti is wanted in Italy for two murders committed in the 1970s when he was a member of a militant group. He escaped from prison in 1981 while awaiting trial.

He lived in France and Mexico before arriving in 2004 in Brazil, where he was arrested three years later.

Italy is seeking his extradition. Brazil's Supreme Court approved his extradition last month, but ruled President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has the final say.