Two of Poland's most-wanted criminals arrested in Spain

Stanislaw Żaryn, the spokesman for the special services coordinator, told PAP that the fugitives had been hiding in Spain since at least 2019. Piotr Nowak/PAP

Spanish police have arrested two of Poland's most-wanted fugitives on suspicion of conning investors out of up to PLN 1 billion (EUR 217 million) through a financial pyramid investment scam.

The mother and son duo, Joanna S. and Mikael S. (last names withheld in accordance with Polish law), had been on the run for a number of years.

Antoni Rzeczkowski, a Polish police official, told PAP that the suspects were wanted under a European Arrest Warrant and an Interpol Red Notice.

The two Poles were linked to the activities of Galleri New Form, a company based in Sweden that was well known among celebrities and offered investments in works of art.

But, according to investigators, the accused were apparently involved in a financial pyramid scheme based on bogus trading in art.

"The significant efforts of the Internal Security Agency… made it possible to determine the current whereabouts of the wanted fugitives," said Rzeczkowski.

Stanislaw Żaryn, the spokesman for the special services coordinator, told PAP that the fugitives had been hiding in Spain since at least 2019.

According to him, the investigation showed that a significant number of investors had never recovered the money they had invested, and their losses came to an estimated PLN 1 billion (EUR 217 million).

During the course of the investigation, up to now, assets worth over PLN 22.7 million (EUR 4.9 million) have been seized, including 21 properties with a total value of over PLN 13 million (EUR 2.8 million), movable assets worth over PLN 2.7 million (EUR 586,000) as well as bars of gold and valuables, and cash in the amount of PLN 4.6 million (EUR 999,000).

Both of the suspects have also been accused of bank fraud and money laundering. They face sentences of up to 15 years in prison, as well as a fine up to PLN 10 million (EUR 2.2 million).

At the moment, both of the detainees are in Spanish custody and are awaiting extradition to Poland.