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Britain’s most wanted woman arrested after almost a decade on the run

Britain’s most wanted woman has been arrested and sent to a prison in Spain after nearly a decade on the run.

Sarah Panitzke, 47, has been a fugitive since she was convicted in 2013 for laundering up to $1.3 billion for a VAT fraud group.

Panitzke was added to Britain’s most wanted fugitives list after fleeing in May 2013 before the end of his trial as a senior member of a related crime group. to VAT fraud.

The privately educated fraudster was sentenced in absentia to eight years behind bars in August 2013.

She is said to have “disappeared into thin air” after becoming the only woman on the National Crime Agency’s Most Wanted List.

UK holidaymakers have been asked to help capture the convicted fraudster from Fulford near York in a recent appeal for information on the whereabouts of runaway killers, sex attackers and drug trafficking.

Last night, she was said to be languishing in a prison near Madrid ahead of her scheduled date of extradition back to the UK.

Sources said she was detained on Sunday as she walked her dog near her home in Catalonia.

The arrest was made by the Fugitive Task Force of the Central Operations Unit of the Civil Guard.

An insider said: “Panitze was out walking her dog when she was arrested.”

Sarah Panitzke
Sarah Panitzke disappeared “in thin air” in 2013.
With permission from the National Crime Agency

Initial reports said the woman was being held in the Catalan town of Vilanova i la Geltru, although police are expected to confirm later that she was arrested in a village in the Catalan province of Tarragona .

According to El Confidencial, which reported on Sunday’s arrest on Monday, she is fighting against being forced to return to the UK.

Two UK customs officials requested to attend her extradition upon hearing the outlet’s report.

There has not been any official comment from the Civil Guard yet.

The Madrid-based judge who ordered her exile in prison while she fought was forced to return to the UK, named Joaquin Gadea.

Directly by privateledge

Panitzke, who attended York Women’s College before transferring to the prestigious St Peter’s School, comes from a wealthy family.

Her father Leo was a residential property developer and insurance broker but was arrested when she was 19 years old for buying council homes and selling them early for a large profit and was later sentenced to four years. years in prison.

She studied Spanish at Manchester Metropolitan University before earning a master’s degree in Barcelona in Business Management.

Sarah is recruited to the notorious tax criminal Geoffrey Johnson’s website of 18 fraudsters across the UK after meeting an acquaintance.

The video shows the arrest of the 47-year-old fugitive.
The video shows the arrest of the 47-year-old fugitive.
Courtesy of Guardia Civil / NCA

Panitzke is among a group of companies that buy cheap mobile phones abroad without VAT, then sell them in the UK for a big profit.

Operation Vaulter, the code-name given to HMRC’s investigation into the gang of frauds, led to a trial at Kingston Crown Court.

Sarah was sentenced to eight years after pleading not guilty. 18 members of this gang received sentences totaling 135 years.

She disappeared before the trial was over.

At the time, she was said to be living in the seaside town with two dogs and a long-term partner and doing “normal work” as a hotel clerk and real estate investor.

Recent reports say she will face up to 17 years in prison if caught as her failure to pay a £2.4million forfeiture order means she will receive extra time in prison. .

Her brother Leon told Vice magazine last year: “The whole story has been incredibly difficult for everyone involved.”

Police described her in their wanted appeal as: “170cm tall, slim build with straight rat-colored hair, blue eyes and a Yorkshire accent.”

The NCA said in a previous appeal: “She controls the corporate accounts of multiple companies remotely through different IP addresses.

“Panitzke went around continuing the scam to places including Dubai, Spain and Andorra. She is responsible for laundering around a billion pounds.”

This article originally appeared on Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/01/britains-most-wanted-woman-caught-after-nearly-a-decade-on-the-run/ Britain’s most wanted woman arrested after almost a decade on the run

JACLYN DIAZ

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