Benat Atorrasagasti Ordonez is said to have been on the run since 2001 (EPA)
Benat Atorrasagasti Ordonez is said to have been on the run since 2001 (EPA)

One of Europe's most wanted terrorists lived in Scotland under his own name for 11 years before being brought to justice, it has emerged.

Benat Atorrasagasti Ordonez, who is allegedly part of the Basque separatist group Eta, worked for the same Edinburgh company for a decade and rented a flat without a pseudonym - even though he has been on Spain's most-wanted list since 2008.

Ordonez, 36, was finally arrested on 13 July in the Leith area of Edinburgh, in a joint operation between Spain's Guardia Civil and the Lothian and Borders Police Force. He is due to appear before Edinburgh sheriff's court and is likely to face extradition proceedings.

Ordonez stands accused of being a "carrier" for Eta, smuggling weapons and people between France and Spain. He is alleged to have joined the group in 1996 and fled Spain in March 2001, when the Guardia Civil dismantled the Eta cell he was working for in Navarra.

In 2008 Ordonez was sentenced in his absence to five years in prison by the Paris Correctional Court, after his fingerprints were found on several terrorist-related materials.

The Spanish Interior Ministry confirmed: "Everything suggests he was part of ETA's 'reserve apparatus' - groups formed by fugitives who are prepared to form active cells when the terror leadership decides."


Ordonez was arrested at the flat he had occupied for several months, and which he shared with his girlfriend.

Maggi Allan, whose husband Kenneth owns the flat, described Ordonez as "the most charming man, and the best tenant you could have asked for.

"He was a textbook tenant. He had an impeccable reference from his previous landlord and from his employer, where he's worked for 10 years."

Mr Allan, who had all his paperwork pertaining to Ordonez confiscated by police, added: "We can't quite believe that this has happened.

"It's also incredible that he was using his real name."