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Fugitive Peter Foster arrested in Victoria six months after failing to appear in court

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP</span>
Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Fugitive Peter Foster has been arrested six months after failing to appear in a Sydney court to face fraud charges.

A federal police taskforce arrested Foster, 59, at a house near the Victorian town of Gisborne, in the Macedon Ranges north-west of Melbourne, on Tuesday.

Nigel Ryan, an AFP assistant commissioner alleged Foster tried to evade police, but “didn’t get far from the back door”.

Ryan said Foster was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital for assessment after telling officers he had a medical condition.

He said Foster was “living quite comfortably” in the property where he was found.

“We’ve been investigating this matter for more than six months so, it indicates that he has probably been there for a good amount of time.”

Queensland police issued a fresh warrant for Foster’s arrest in May after he failed to attend a hearing at Sydney’s Downing Centre local court.

He was originally arrested on a beach in Port Douglas, in far north Queensland, in August last year on charges brought by NSW police of defrauding $2m worth of bitcoin through a sports trading scam.

The 120 bitcoin at the centre of the case were worth more than $8.6m at market prices on Tuesday.

In May, NSW police dropped the charges but the Queensland force immediately issued a new arrest warrant.

Foster was on bail when he failed to appear at the Downing Centre court.

The court heard he attended the office of his lawyer, Justin Lewis, earlier in the day but in the afternoon Lewis told the court he was unable to locate his client.

Under his bail conditions, Foster was required to surrender his passport, wear an electronic ankle bracelet and was banned from accessing the internet or using a mobile phone.

He was required to stay inside his home in Dover Heights, in Sydney’s eastern Suburbs, and not leave except for a medical emergency, to report to police or see his lawyers.

Federal police said Foster would be extradited to Queensland.

“This arrest is a considerable result and a testament to the excellent working relationship between the AFP and Queensland police,” Ryan said.

“We have been working hand in glove together and this man would still be at large without their operational input”.

He said there was “nowhere to hide” for people sought by the AFP’s fugitive apprehension strike team.

“The AFP, with our partner agencies, are relentless in ensuring those wanted for crimes face justice,” he said.

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