A BRITISH fraudster who faces extradition has claimed that Spanish police forced him to incriminate himself.
Paul Blanchard, 74, from York, faces extradition over his alleged role as a ‘financial advisor’ for criminal gangs.
His barrister told a court that a policeman told him he should consider leaving Tenerife as his life was at risk.
The officer was apparently worried that Blanchard may have been killed by Costa del Sol timeshare businessman, Mohamed Derbah.
Lebanese-born Derbah is accused of laundering money through dodgy holiday offers and timeshare schemes.
Blanchard could face 15 years in prison if he loses an extradition trial currently underway at Westminster Magistrates Court.
A European Arrest Warrant was issued for his capture in 2018 after he was accused of financially aiding crooks from 1999 and 2001.
But Blanchard claims that information he offered up in 2001 on the gangs’ head honchos is now being used against him.
According to the York Press, Blanchard dished the details on some Canary Islands criminality without a lawyer or interpreter being present.
He has also claimed that the Spanish police are attempting to prosecute him alongside Derbah.
Former corporate consultant, Blanchard, who specialises in offshore services was put behind bars in the UK in 2008 after being found guilty for a series of connected scams.
He confessed to laundering £375,000, passport fraud and attempting to try and rob £4.3 million from a bank in London in a bid to send the cash to Spain.
Mark Summers QC, for Blanchard, said that Spanish police had given their personal phone numbers to Blanchard.
This, he argued proved that Blanchard was just a witness and that the police wanted to protect him.
According to the York Press, Summers added that there was overwhelming evidence’ that police were happy to ‘bend the rules’ for his client.
He added: “This was a decision to throw a witness under the bus to keep the case against a bigger fish (Derbah) alive.”
“The Spanish insist that what (Blanchard) did was voluntary.
“There is nothing voluntary about giving a statement when you are a suspect and you are entitled not to speak.”
Derbah is believed to be on bail and has not been prosecuted.