Revealed: The UK's 3 most wanted suspected fraudsters

·Freelance news writer, Yahoo UK
·2-min read
A photo issued by Spain's Guardia Civil of Sarah Panitzke following her arrest in March. (PA)
A photo issued by Spain's Guardia Civil of Sarah Panitzke following her arrest in March. (PA)

“Britain’s most wanted woman” is set to appear in court on fraud charges following nine years on the run.

Sarah Panitzke was scheduled to appear at Kingston Crown Court on Friday, accused of laundering £1 billion as part of a VAT fraud.

She was arrested in March while walking her dogs in Spain, and was one of a number of suspected UK fraudsters being hunted by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Here, Yahoo News UK looks at the remaining suspects who remain at large.

Timur Mehmet

 Timur Mehmet has been wanted for 15 years. (National Crime Agency)
Timur Mehmet has been wanted for 15 years. (National Crime Agency)

Mehmet has been wanted by the authorities for 15 years.

It surrounds his role in a conspiracy to cheat the public revenue by operating a Missing Trader Intra-community (MTIC) fraud. This cost the UK £25m.

He appeared at Northampton Crown Court in June 2007, when his trial was set for October 2007. However, he failed to attend and left the UK. In January 2008, Mehmet was found guilty in his absence and sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.

In 2012, Sky News tracked down Mehmet in Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the UK.

He said: “I am trying to do a deal to return to the UK. People who think I should be serving my sentence will get their wish very soon.”

Shazad Ghafoor

Shazad Ghafoor has been wanted since 2015. (National Crime Agency)
Shazad Ghafoor has been wanted since 2015. (National Crime Agency)

Ghafoor has been wanted for seven years, having initially been charged with fraud and other offences in 2013.

In August that year, Ghafoor, driving a courtesy car with his wife and two children, had been pursued by police before crashing in Halifax. The officers found up to £100,000 in cash.

Ghafoor had been due to appear in court in February 2015 to answer charges including fraud and intent to supply cannabis following major seizures, but didn't appear and an arrest warrant was issued.

Crimestoppers says Ghafoor uses five different aliases and three dates of birth.

Christakis Philippou

Christakis Philippou. (National Crime Agency)
Christakis Philippou. (National Crime Agency)

Philippou is wanted as part of a scam which defrauded 20,000 people.

The NCA says that between 2004 and 2006, Philippou and co-conspirators repeatedly set out to acquire, or sometimes set up from scratch, travel agency businesses which were used as vehicles for fraud.

The travel agencies attracted customers by offering holidays which were priced so low that legitimate firms could not compete with them. In each case, the travel agency ceased to trade, leaving customers without a holiday.

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