Suspected fraudster Rakesh Sharma arrested in Kenya by Interpol

Rakesh Sharma
Rakesh Sharma is accused of nine counts of tax evasion totalling 12.8m euros (£10.4m) between November 2010 and May 2011. Photo: German Federal Criminal Office

Following a 2-year manhunt, suspected British fraudster Rakesh Sharma who is wanted in connection with a complex VAT fraud while working as an executive at two German companies, has been arrested by Interpol officers in Kenya.

Rakesh Sharma
Rakesh Sharma

German authorities are now seeking the extradition of Sharma, from Exhall, following a global manhunt which lasted almost two years.

After the public prosecutor general’s office in Frankfurt issued an international arrest warrant for Sharma in 2014, the German Federal Criminal Office said they believed the 44-year-old was in the UK, Dubai or Kenya. Later, they said they believed he was hiding somewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sharma has been accused of nine counts of carousel fraud and it is believed he may have evaded almost £10million of tax between November 2010 and May 2011 while working as an executive at Tie Seal Vertriebs GmbH and NHI GmbH.

Carousel fraud is a complex scam where a chain of companies avoid paying VAT or sometimes claim back VAT they are not owed. Until the rules were tightened, this particular deception used to cost the UK treasury a staggering £10billion every year.

Sharma is also linked to a string of failed businesses in the UK including telecoms firm Owl Ltd based in Bloomsbury, London which was liquidated.

InterpolFollowing his arrest earlier this month, Mr Sharma appeared before Resident Magistrate Mary Mugure, who allowed the police to detain the suspect for four days.

“The respondent escaped to Kenya but his accomplices were arrested, charged and are serving sentences in Germany,” Mr Joseph Ngari of the Interpol National Central Bureau at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations said in the affidavit.

“The respondent is [the] subject of an international arrest warrant and has to undergo [an] extradition procedure in Kenya to be charged in Germany for the offences.” – Prosecutor Daniel Karuri speaking in court

Prosecutor Daniel Karuri said police need time to seek extradition orders from a court.

“It has been proved to me on oath that the purpose of [the] ongoing investigation into the commission of the offence of tax evasion contrary to section 370 [of the] German Tax code occurred on diverse dates between January 10 2011 and June 9 2011 within Frankfurt Am Main Germany; it is necessary and desirable that the respondent who is subject to [an] international arrest warrant be detained awaiting extradition proceedings.” – Resident Magistrate Mary Mugure

Mr Sharma’s lawyers, Mr Cliff Ombeta and Ms Anne Machuki, had previously opposed a request to hold the suspect for 14 days, telling the court that the suspect had been cooperating with investigators. However, the court granted the police to detain the suspect for four days.