Hugo Jose Sanchez arrested in Australia in fake death probe

Sophie Sanchez
Image caption Sophie Sanchez was jailed over an insurance scam allegedly involving her husband Hugo Jose Sanchez

A British man accused of faking his own death so his wife could claim life insurance has been arrested in Australia.

Hugo Jose Sanchez, 57, also known as Alfredo, faces extradition to the UK over the alleged fraud.

Mr Sanchez was found in Sydney on Wednesday, five years after British police began investigating him.

It is alleged that Mr Sanchez faked his own death to secure a life insurance payout of about £1m.

His wife, Sophie, 43, told his employers that he had died on a holiday to South America and had been cremated.

'Prolonged case'

Authorities became suspicious when Mr Sanchez's fingerprints were allegedly found on his death certificate.

Mr Sanchez, a former web designer at HMV, based in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, was arrested at an address in Sydney.

Mrs Sanchez was arrested and jailed last year after returning to the UK.

The couple previously lived in Farnham, Surrey.

Thames Valley Police said they would be seeking Mr Sanchez's extradition to Britain.

Det Con Jacqui Bartlett, of the force's economic crime unit, said: "Hopefully this will be the final stage in what has been a prolonged case.

Airport arrest

"It is anticipated that the extradition process will take anything from several months to quite possibly years, depending on whether Mr Sanchez exercises his right to appeal."

A spokeswoman for Australian Federal Police said Mr Sanchez had appeared at a court in Sydney on Thursday after being charged with insurance fraud.

Mother-of-four Mrs Sanchez, who is serving a two-year jail term after admitting fraud, was arrested at Heathrow Airport in September last year as she returned to the UK for a family engagement.

On 27 October, she was ordered to repay £158,000 to HMV after a confiscation hearing at Oxford Crown Court.

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