Fraud charge man waits in German jail

LANGUISHING in a German jail, Ipswich businessman Peter Murray Cowan is today still awaiting extradition to be tried in a British court.In November, the Star revealed how German police believed they had captured Murray Cowan, who fled from Britain after being charged with a multi-million pound fraud.

By Tracey Sparling,

crime reporter

tracey.sparling@eveningstar.co.uk

LANGUISHING in a German jail, Ipswich businessman Peter Murray Cowan is today still awaiting extradition to be tried in a British court.


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In November, the Star revealed how German police believed they had captured Murray Cowan, who fled from Britain after being charged with a multi-million pound fraud.

The former Suffolk prospective councillor sparked a worldwide manhunt after he jumped court bail, wanted in relation to charges concerning counterfeit software.

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Interpol later confirmed that German police had arrested him, believed to be on suspicion of similar counterfeiting offences.

It was reported that he was caught on October 29, by police in Bavaria after he fell asleep in his Audi at a service station near Aschaffenburg. The car was allegedly so stuffed with boxes of what appeared to be Microsoft Office 97 Professional software that it was barely drivable.

Sensing counterfeit, police took both driver and 4,000 copies of one of the world's most popular programs – worth $2 million on the retail market, according to Microsoft – into custody.

But now the German authorities' case is likely to be heard before extradition proceedings.

A spokeswoman for Trading Standards in Suffolk said today: "The German authorities will have the opportunity to pursue their case first, since he is in their custody."

In September 2001, Murray Cowan, 40, of Sirdar Road, Ipswich, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court and denied 12 charges relating to possessing and trying to sell computer software bearing a logo identical to that of Microsoft.

He refused to enter pleas to the majority of the charges and Judge John Devaux entered not guilty pleas on his behalf.

Two other men are due to be sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on February 24, for supplying and buying counterfeit good, in connection with the Murray Cowan case.

The Murray Cowan case is believed to be the first time a local authority trading standards department has bid for extradition.

Trading standards officers who brought the charges against him used Evening Star photographs of the alleged counterfeiter so the German authorities could formally identify the man they had arrested.

WEBLINK

www.interpol.com

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