UK’s most wanted woman Sarah Panitzke has been arrested in Spain.
Spanish police said Tuesday they had arrested the Briton over a £1 billion VAT scam, after nine years on the run.
The fugitive, identified by Britain’s National Crime Agency as 47-year-old Sarah Panitzke, was arrested by Guardia Civil police on Sunday walking her dogs in Santa Barbara village, between Barcelona and Valencia.
Panitzke has been wanted since 2013 for money laundering offences as part of a 16-strong criminal gang that bought mobile phones abroad without VAT then resold them in the UK.
The gang made profits of “more than £1 billion” (1.2 billion euros/$1.3 billion), police and the NCA said in separate statements.
Originally from Fulford, near the northern English city of York, Panitzke disappeared in May 2013 before being convicted and sentenced in absentia 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.
Investigators with Britain’s HMRC tax authorities said she was responsible for laundering all the group’s income through multiple companies in Spain, the tiny principality of Andorra and Dubai.