On Tuesday, Spanish police said they had arrested Britain’s most wanted woman over £1billion VAT scam after nine years on the runa.
The fugitive identified by Britain’s National Crime Agency as Sarah Panitzke was arrested by Guardia Civil Police on Sunday walking her dogs in Santa Barbara village, between Barcelona and Valencia.
She has been wanted since 2013 for money laundering offences as part of 16-strong criminal gang that bought mobile phones abroad without VAT then sold them in UK .
The gang made profits of “more than £1 billion” (1.2billion euros / $1.3 billion) . Police and the NCA said in separate statement.
Panitzke disappeared in May 2013 before being convicted and sentenced in a bsentia to eight years behind bars. “She was the last of the gang to be caught with other members collectively sentenced to 135 years in jail” the NCA said
It was also said that she was responsible for laundering all the group’s income through multiple companies in Spain the principality of Andorra and Dubai.
The gang then managed to shift more Mobile phones in the UK than the collective number sold by all legal outlets . It was later discovered in 2015 that she was living in olivella just the south of Barcelona with her husband bringing supplies at weekends.
She changed her appearance totally and flex realising the police were onto her , cutting all physical ties with her family to avoid detention.They found her again after seven years that she might be in Saint Barbara after lengthy surveillance operation.
Police spotted a woman who clearly had the same physical characteristics.This time, they developed multiple agents in civilian clothing to ensure she won’t escape again.