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Britain’s Most-Wanted Woman Is Still On The Run After Laundering £1 Billion

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Britain’s Most-Wanted Woman Is Still On The Run After Laundering £1 Billion

The most-wanted woman in Britain has laundered £1 billion ($1.3bn) in cash and has been on the run for the past eight years.

Despite having lived and brought up in the seemingly humble Yorkshire, the 47-year-old, originally from Barcelona, became part of a huge criminal organisation, specialising in fraud.

In the previous six years, Sarah Panitzke, 47, has been the only woman on the National Crime Agency (NCA) most-wanted list.

She worked with 18 other criminals as part of group of companies that purchased cheap mobile phones abroad, without paying VAT, before selling them in the UK for a huge profit.

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Credit: Pexels
Credit: Pexels

The NCA said: "She controlled the company accounts of many companies remotely via different IP addresses. Panitzke travelled extensively to further the fraud to places including Dubai, Spain and Andorra. She was responsible for laundering approximately £1 billion."

After an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), in August 2013, Panitzke was ordered to either repay over £2.4 million ($3.3m) or go to jail.

Despite the court ruling, she basically decided to go on her own terms and did a runner before the trial began in May 2013.

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The crime group got a total of 135 years prison time between them and were ordered to repay more than £111 million ($153m) in criminal profits.

Reported by Vice, according to lawyer Abbas Lakha, the gang sold more smartphones in the UK than all of the other UK-based shops put together.

He said: "At one stage there were more mobile phones being purchased and exported by a single crime syndicate in the space of a month than actually bought or sold in the country as a whole."

After the trial, HMRC assistant director Kevin Newe said: "We are determined that crime gangs such as this one, should be prosecuted and then made to repay their criminal profits."

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Sarah Panitzke. Credit: National Crime Agency
Sarah Panitzke. Credit: National Crime Agency

James Brooks, 47, met Panitzke in York when they were younger and revealed she was very competitive, even as a teenager.

He told Vice: "In netball and hockey, she was an attacker. A good team player, but competitive - she wanted to win.

"We were adrenaline junkies. We'd go high diving off rock areas along the coast. She'd be encouraging me to do dives and I'd say, 'I don't think it's the right move,' but she had no fear at all."

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NCA believe her to be hiding out in Spain and has urged locals and holidaymakers to keep a look out for her.

She apparently has a Yorkshire accent and is described as being 170cm tall with blonde hair and a slim build.

Featured Image Credit: National Crime Agency

Topics: crime, criminal

Anish Vij
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