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Britain’s “most wanted woman” held in Spain while walking her dogs

Britain’s “most wanted woman” has been caught while walking her dogs in Spain.

Sarah Panitzke was involved in a multi-million pounds VAT fraud.

She has been on the run for the last nine years.

Panitzke, 47, originally from York, was held in Catalonia.


Spanish police say she is the only member of the gang who remained free.

Sixteen other people arrested in connection to the theft are behind bars.

Panitzke is accused of laundering money through companies in Spain, Andorra and Dubai for a group that bought mobile phones abroad without VAT and resold them in the UK.

Panitzke, originally from Fulford, near York, had appeared in a Spanish court and was in custody while extradition proceedings begin, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

She vanished in May 2013 while facing trial for money laundering and was convicted and sentenced in her absence to eight years in prison.

Tom Dowdall, NCA international deputy director, said:

“Sarah Panitzke has been on the run for almost nine years.

“Given the length of time, she might have thought we had stopped searching, but she remained on our radar.

“Joint working between UK law enforcement and our partners in Spain led to her being apprehended.

“We will now seek her extradition back to the UK to serve her prison sentence.

“This should serve as a warning to others on our most wanted list – we will not rest until you are captured, no matter how long it takes.”

Simon York, director of the Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Sarah Panitzke was one of Britain’s most wanted tax fugitives.

“She played a pivotal role in a multi-million pounds VAT fraud and moved millions through offshore bank accounts.

“Panitzke thought she had put herself outside of the reach of HMRC, but through our work with UK law enforcement and international partners we have tracked down another tax fugitive.

“No tax criminal is beyond our reach.”



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