HomeBussinessMaltese court upholds Sweden's request for businessman's extradition over VAT carousel fraud

Maltese court upholds Sweden’s request for businessman’s extradition over VAT carousel fraud

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A court has ordered the return to Sweden of Maltese businessman Mohan Bharwani, in order for him to face charges of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.

Bharwani, 57, from Sliema, was arrested in February on the strength of a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Swedish authorities, following a complex cross-border investigation into a €195 million VAT fraud.

He was one of over 180 people who had been investigated in the operation which involved police forces in Albania, Austria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The Swedish authorities applied for Bharwani’s arrest and rendition in connection with an ongoing investigation into “gross tax crimes and gross money laundering crimes” allegedly committed by a Swedish mobile phone and consumer products distribution company called Iskana.

The arrests targeted the suspected organisers of the fraudulent scheme, which would import and sell mobile phones through a series of companies without paying VAT to the authorities, before exporting them again.

Bharwani contested his extradition on a number of technical legal grounds, which Magistrate Leonard Caruana did not uphold.

After finding no impediment to the man’s extradition, the court revoked his bail and ordered that he be held in custody before his return to Sweden.

Lawyers Stefano Filletti, Giannella de Marco and Maurice Meli assisted Bharwani.

Inspectors Shaun Friggieri and Roderick Spiteri represented the Commissioner of Police. Lawyer Martin Sammut represented the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

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