Turkish Cypriot authorities said they have detained a man wanted by British authorities in connection with VAT fraud worth £25m.
Reports said Turkish Cypriot Timur Mehmet, 44, had been arrested in Kyrenia on suspicion of possession of cocaine with two other suspects. They were subsequently released on bail.
Mehmet is among the most wanted by the UK’s National Crime Agency for his role in a conspiracy to cheat public revenues by operating a complicated VAT fraud – which caused a loss to the UK of £25m.
He had appeared in court in June 2007 and was told that failure to return for his trial in October 2007 could result in him being tried and sentenced in his absence.
Mehmet failed to attend and was subsequently found guilty – and was sentenced to eight years in absentia.
Reports said Mehmet was a leading member of a gang involved in a complex fraud involving the buying and selling of computer parts and gold bullion.
The scam, known as a carousel fraud, was to re-sell goods several times and claim VAT which they then failed to pass on to HM Revenue and Customs.
They did this by setting up a group of bogus companies issuing fake invoices.
Mehmet and 20 others, including his uncle Mustapha, were convicted after a series of trials which ended at Northampton Crown Court in 2010.