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Fraudster goes on the run

A CONVICTED fraudster who admitted laundering millions of pounds has disappeared after failing to turn up at court to be sentenced.

GONE: Michael Voudouri pled guilty to charges last month.
GONE: Michael Voudouri pled guilty to charges last month.

Michael Voudouri was due to appear in the dock yesterday at the High Court in Glasgow.

He had helped launder more than £10 million that came from a bogus computer component firm. Voudouri pled guilty to charges last month and was granted bail despite having a previous conviction for VAT fraud.

But it emerged that no-one now knows the whereabouts of the 45-year-old.

Lawyer Vincent Belmonte said: "I have tried to contact him without success and he has not contacted me.

"I have telephoned the family home and was told that he had gone to England to contact his English solicitors. But the English solicitors said they have not heard from him.

"The last time I heard from him he was extremely depressed and in a low mood."

Prosecutor Peter Ferguson, QC, moved for a warrant for Voudouri's arrest which was granted by Judge Lord Tyre.

This latest case centred around the "proceeds of criminal conduct" of Glasgow-based Q-Tech Distribution Ltd.

Q-Tech is said to have made a fortune by claiming back VAT on bogus Europe-wide business transactions in a scam known as carousel fraud.

Prosecutors said Voudouri was involved in funds being concealed and "removed from the jurisdiction of the Scottish courts".

He set up bank accounts in Greece and Cyprus as well as limited companies across the globe to keep the cash away from the authorities.

Voudouri had been accused of laundering a total of £48.2m from Q-Tech Distribution, but the Crown accepted a guilty plea after the sum was reduced to £10.3m.

He also admitted a separate charge of hiding £1.2m of dirty cash while he was in HMP Glenochil.

The fraudster was locked up for four years in 2004 after admitting to a massive VAT swindle involving computer chips.

In 2008, the father of three was ordered to hand over £1.3m of his illegal gains.

Voudouri had been known for a flamboyant lifestyle, once owning 12 cars including a £50,000 Porsche Carrera with a £6000 personalised number plate.

He was also reported to have lit cigars with £50 notes in strip clubs.

Voudouri – whose children were privately educated – lived in a £2m home in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire.

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