The UK's most-wanted woman has been arrested here in Spain, suspected of money laundering operations involving the IVA on mobile phones.
She was not alone as she was part of an organisation that bought mobile phones abroad without paying IVA and then sold them in the United Kingdom. Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs calculates that the organisation made over a billion pounds sterling.
Such was the volume of their ‘trading’ that they sold more phones than all the legal, mobile-phone outlets put together.
According to British police investigators, Ms S.P. was used by the organisation to launder their earnings through multiple companies that they owned in Spain, Andorra and Dubai.
It was back in August 2013 that the leaders of the organisation were tried but Ms S.P. did not present herself at the trial and has been on the run since then. She was tried in absencia and sentenced to 8-years’ imprisonment for her part in the organisation.
The police suspected straight away that she had gone to Spain because she has family and school-friend ties from when she was in Spain as a teenager. For this reason the HMRC contacted the Guardia Civil in order to track her down,
Then in 2015 the police discovered tht she had been hiding out in Olivella (Barcelona) – her husband had gone to visit her there on weekends, taking great care to cover their tracks. The fact is that she hardly ever ventured out of her home so the husband brought her food and other necessities.
However, she got wind of the police closing in and changed her look completely and fled. From that moment on she was the top priority of the Guardia Civil who kept a close eye on all of her relatives and friends. This time she cut all ties with her family in Spain in order to avoid giving the police any clues as to her new whereabouts.
It was in February this year that she was tracked down to Santa Bárbara (Tarragona) which has a small population of some 4,000 inhabitants. The police had this small town under close observation over a period several weeks, then finally, last week they identified a woman who answered to the fugitive’s description, living in a block of flats on the outskirts of the town.
Having learnt from the failed attempt to capture her in 2015, they used plainclothes officers on the 27th of February and caught her as she was coming out of the building to take her dogs for a walk.
She has been sent to a Spanish prison pending the completion of the paperwork for the extradition.
(News: Tarragona, Valencia)