The UK’s most wanted alleged fraudster arrested in Spain

MADRID, 1 March The Spanish Civil Guard has arrested the UK’s most wanted fraudster Sarah Banitzky, 47, who was convicted of helping to launder more than 1,000 million euros (about $1,117 million), and who has been on the run for 10 years. Almost. The arrest took place, Sunday, in the territory of Tarragona (northeast), then a judge of the Supreme National Court ordered her imprisonment for the danger of escaping, pending a decision to extradite her, after the resignation of the detainee for his voluntary transfer to the United States. Kingdom, legal sources reported to Efe. According to sources from the Civil Guard, Banitsky, accused of money laundering by the British authorities, was part of a 16-person criminal organization and was the only one still at large. This organization was devoted to fraud in the value-added tax in the sale of mobile phones, which they obtained abroad without this tax and resold in the UK, thereby obtaining a profit estimated by the British authorities at more than one billion pounds sterling. British investigators confirmed that the detainee is responsible for laundering the organization’s profits through several companies she owns in Spain, Andorra and Dubai. They also highlighted that this organization came to sell more phones in the UK than all legal stores as a whole. Flying for nearly a decade in August 2013, the main perpetrators of the plot were tried and Banitzky did not appear in court, and she was sentenced in absentia to 8 years in prison for her participation in the laundering of the organization’s profits. After his escape, the main indications were that he might be hiding in Spain, a country with which he had family and academic ties since his teens, leading British authorities to contact the Civil Guard. After verifying in 2015 that she was hiding in a town in Barcelona (northeast), the fugitive managed to escape after completely changing her appearance and was not located again until February of this year in a small town in Tarragona province on the border with Barcelona. After using a large device, she was arrested by the Civil Guard last week when she left her home to walk with her pets. The operation was supported by HMRC (Her Majesty Revenue and Customs), the British government agency responsible for tax collection. EFE nat/ma/mg

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