Fraud charge fugitive found in Germany

GERMAN police today believe they have captured an Ipswich businessman who fled from Britain after being charged with a multi-million pound fraud. Former prospective councillor Peter Murray Cowan sparked a worldwide manhunt after he jumped court bail following a preliminary hearing at Ipswich Crown Court last September.

By James Fraser

GERMAN police today believe they have captured an Ipswich businessman who fled from Britain after being charged with a multi-million pound fraud.

Former prospective councillor Peter Murray Cowan sparked a worldwide manhunt after he jumped court bail following a preliminary hearing at Ipswich Crown Court last September.

The 41-year-old denied 12 counts relating to counterfeiting hi-tech giant Microsoft's logo to sell around £4.5m computer software, but disappeared before his trial was set to start in December.


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When he failed to show, a warrant for his arrest was immediately issued.

Once he is formally identified, extradition proceedings loom for Murray Cowan, of Sirdar Road, who stood for office as a Tory candidate for Chantry and Stoke Park in borough council elections in 1999.

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With the help of global police agency Interpol, Suffolk County Council's trading standards department now want to bring Murray Cowan to trial - the first time it is believed a local authority trading standards department has bid for extradition.

Trading standards officers, who brought the charges against him, approached the Evening Star to obtain photographs of the alleged counterfeiter so the German authorities could formally identify the man they have arrested.

Other forensic evidence is expected to confirm the German police have got their man.

A trading standards spokeswoman said that the council had contacted Interpol to apply for an international arrest warrant so that Murray Cowan can be extradited back to the UK and so stand trial at crown court.

"Extradition procedures are only used in a few cases and we believe this is the first time a local authority trading standards department has done this.

"The Evening Star's photo of Mr Murray Cowan was sent to Interpol yesterday to confirm that it is the same man that German authorities have arrested and held in custody.

"The photo and fingerprints we have also sent will mean that once he has been positively identified, Mr Murray Cowan can then be arrested under the international arrest warrant and brought back to Ipswich to face the charges against him," she said.

WEBLINK

www.interpol.int

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