Catalonia: Britain’s most wanted scammer arrested after 9 years near Tarragona

Sarah Panitzke is suspected of involvement in a £1bn VAT fraud. He was arrested on Tuesday 1 March by the Guardia Civil in the village of Santa Barbara (4,000 residents) in the province of Tarragona.

The fugitive (47), who was part of a 16-man criminal organization, was arrested on Sunday while walking his dogs in the village of Santa Barbara in northeastern Spain, a statement reported by Guardia Civil. The organization was an “expert” in VAT fraud in the sale of mobile phones, which had previously been purchased abroad without VAT and sold in the United Kingdom, thus costing over £1 billion by the British HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs). benefit was received.

According to British investigators, Sarah Panitzke was responsible for laundering the organization’s profits through several companies in Spain, Andorra and Dubai. They also specify that the organization once sold more mobile phones than all legal stores in the United Kingdom… Sarah Panitzke, wanted since 2013, was sentenced by customs to 8 years in prison.

British officials immediately noticed that she was hiding in Spain and in early 2015, she was seen near Olivela (Province of Barcelona). But she narrowly escaped arrest. By then the British and Spanish authorities had lost all traces of it.

Last February, police were informed of his presence in Santa Barbara. The surveillance was then followed for several weeks and a young woman was identified, possibly as Sarah Panitzke. A large police force was deployed on Sunday morning, which made it possible to arrest her as she went out to take her dogs.

He was kept in prison for extradition.

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