Ten arrested over £15m money laundering conspiracy

21 November 2019, 05:32

Cash and drugs officers found during the raids
Cash and drugs officers found during the raids. Picture: NCA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Police investigating a money laundering gang believed to have smuggled more than £15 million cash out of Britain hidden in suitcases have made ten arrests.

The National Crime Agency, whose officers made the arrests in a series of raids across London on Wednesday morning, said the suspects were also suspected of trying to smuggle 17 people into the UK this summer.

“The suspects are alleged to have been part of a well-orchestrated conspiracy to launder millions of pounds of money made through class A drugs and organised immigration crime, transferring it from the UK to Dubai over the last three years,” the NCA said. “Examinations of travel history suggest this crime group have transported more than £14m in 2017 and 2018 alone.”

Specialist officers gear up before raiding the properties
Specialist officers gear up before raiding the properties. Picture: NCA

A 41-year-old Indian man, understood to be the leader of the gang, was arrested at an address in Hounslow, west London.

He along with four other Indian men, four British citizens and a Frenchman, aged from 28 to 44, were held on suspicion of money laundering and facilitating illegal immigration at addresses in Hayes, Hounslow, Uxbridge and Southall.

The raids come after an investigation supported by the Met Police, into cash seizures worth more than £1.5 million made by Border Force officers over the course of 2019.

NCA officers recovered a quantity of cash, illegal drugs and luxury cars, including Range Rovers, Audi Q7s and BMW 5 series, during raids in Hounslow, Hayes, Uxbridge and Southall.

One of the vehicles the officers siezed
One of the vehicles the officers siezed. Picture: NCA

Chris Hill, NCA senior investigating officer, said: “Cash is the lifeblood of organised crime groups and they need the services of money launderers.

“We believe that the action we and our partners have taken will have caused permanent damage to a well-established money laundering network.

“We are determined to do all we can to target illicit financial flows and hit organised criminal networks where it hurts – in the pocket.”