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A British financier sought for huge tax fraud is extradited to Denmark from UAE

Associated Press - Wed Dec 6, 2023
Denmark UAE Extradition

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A Dubai-based British hedge fund trader sought by Danish authorities for allegedly orchestrating a $1.7 billion tax fraud, considered one of the largest in the Scandinavian country, has been extradited from the United Arab Emirates, officials said Wednesday.

Financier Sanjay Shah was convicted in May in Dubai of masterminding a scheme that ran from 2012 to 2015 in which foreign businesses pretended to own shares in Danish companies and claimed tax refunds for which they were not eligible. A court in the United Arab Emirates had cleared his extradition.

Danish media said he was aboard a plane from Dubai that landed in Copenhagen early Wednesday. Danish police officers traveled to Dubai to pick him up, the Justice Ministry said.

“It goes without saying that we as a society cannot accept that our state treasury is exposed to it,” Danish Taxation Minister Jeppe Bruus said, calling it “one of the biggest criminal fraud cases in Danish history.”

Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen added that Denmark was “sending an important signal that you cannot achieve impunity by staying abroad.”

Shah's British lawyer Chris Waters told Danish broadcaster TV2 that his client denies any wrongdoing and “continues to doubt that he can receive a fair trial in Denmark.” His Danish lawyer, Kåre Pihlmann, told TV2 that they need to read the case file of more than 300,000 pages before deciding on their line of defense.

Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard repeatedly told a news conference ahead of his return that Shah was innocent until proven guilty. “But when you are the main suspect in a case worth billions, it attracts attention,” he said.

Bruus, who attended the U.N. climate conference in Dubai, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that he was supposed to fly home but had to leave his seat to ”the main suspect.”

Once on Danish soil, Shah will formally be arrested and Denmark’s prosecution authority will request that he be remanded in custody. A trial in suburban Copenhagen is set for Jan. 8.

Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard said the deal with the United Arab Emirate meant that Denmark also would seek the extradition of a man who is wanted for the killing in 2019 of a police officer. The suspect raced through central Copenhagen in a car and officers tried to stop him.

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