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GOTCHA! Cyprus extradites couple wanted for £1 mln NHS fraud

08 January, 2014

A couple from Manchester at the centre of a five-year manhunt for allegedly swindling 1 mln pounds from the NHS were arrested in Cyprus late last month and extradited back to the U.K. after they strayed from their safe haven of the Turkish occupied north, dubbed by the British press as ‘Costa Del Crime’.
According to U.K. press reports, Deborah Hancox, 44, and John Leigh, 53, appeared before Manchester Magistrates’ Court this week where they were charged with eight counts of defrauding the NHS's Greater Manchester Deanery, a teaching organisation.
The pair allegedly fled to the north in 2008 after being questioned by police back home, the Daily Mail reported.
Unlike the north side, which has no extradition treaty with the UK, the Republic of Cyprus does, and allowed Hancox and Leigh to be taken in. The couple stepped over the border and were taken into custody on a European arrest warrant, the Daily Mail said.
They were wanted in a joint investigation by Greater Manchester Police and the NHS’s counter fraud unit, NHS Protect. Leigh was employed by the NHS as an IT manager from 2000 until 2009. He was questioned by police over claims he had interests in three IT companies used to supply equipment, services and goods to the NHS.