Fugitive accountant arrested in Spain: report

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A former managing partner with accountancy giant Grant Thornton, who disappeared after allegedly stealing millions of Hong Kong dollars from investors, has been arrested in Spain, according to local reports.

Gabriel Azedo vanished in September last year allegedly with millions of dollars stolen from clients including family members.

He was arrested in Salamanca, 200 kilometres (125 miles) west of Madrid, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources.

A Hong Kong police spokeswoman said she could not comment on "individual cases".

Grant Thornton also declined to comment on the matter.

Prominent racehorse owners Arthur and Betty da Silva are suing Azedo and Grant Thornton for at least 2.3 million dollars over the fraud allegations, according to court papers.

Azedo's distant cousin, Angela Gardner, a local businesswoman, has also filed a lawsuit against him, claiming most of the nine million dollars she asked him to deposit in local and offshore accounts has gone missing.

She was awarded her claim in January this year, according to the SCMP.

A Security Bureau spokeswoman told AFP that Hong Kong does not have an extradition agreement with Spain.

Grant Thornton is Britain's fifth-largest accounting firm, behind heavyweights PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst and Young.

© 2010 AFP

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