Met captures £5 million from criminals in force's largest ever seizure

29 May 2021, 11:57 | Updated: 29 May 2021, 12:12

Some of the money seized by officers
Some of the money seized by officers. Picture: Met Police

By Will Taylor

More than £5 million has been seized from criminals by the Met Police, the force's largest ever haul.

It followed an operation concentrating on firearms and drug supply across London, which led to three men being sentenced.

Police said the seizure would disrupt "a number of crime groups" and is also believed to be one of the biggest in the country's history.

Officers identified large-scale money launderer Sergejs Auzins during the operation, and found he was taking cash to an address in Fulham, West London.

In June 2020, Ruslan Shamsutdinov was seen leaving an apartment in Fulham, struggling to carry heavy bags, which he put in a car.

When officers stopped him, the bags were found to contain "a considerable amount of cash", police said.

Officers searched the apartment to find more cash and an organised money laundering system.

More than £5 million was taken, and a further 39,000 Euros and £8,000 was found in Shamsutdinov's home.

Mugshots issued by the Met
Mugshots issued by the Met. Picture: Met Police

In July, Serwan Ahmadi was seen handing a bag to another man. That man was arrested but the case was discontinued.

On the same day, Ahmadi was stopped and searched after leaving his home in Edmonton with another bag.

It carried almost £60,000 and a search of his home found almost £200,000.

The next day, officers arrested Auzins at his Rochester home and found £14,000.

Detective Superintendent Jason Prins, from the Met's Specialist Crime Command, said: "As part of a long running operation against gun crime and large scale Class A drugs supply across London, over five million pounds in criminal cash was seized from an address in Fulham.

A vast haul of money was seized
A vast haul of money was seized. Picture: Met Police

"This is the largest ever single cash seizure by the Met and I believe one of the largest ever nationally.

"Organised crime is motivated by money and is one of the biggest causes of violence on our streets. Tackling this violence is our main priority.

"This seizure, and the conviction of these men for laundering that money, will have a major impact on the ability of a number of crime groups to carry on with their activities."

The trio were sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on 28 May after pleading guilty to conceal/disguise/convert/transfer/remove criminal property.

Shamsutdinov, 36, of Hackney, was sentenced to three years and nine months' in prison, while Auzins, 46, of Rochester, was sentenced to three years and four months' imprisonment.

Ahmadi, of Edmonton, was sentenced to one year and eight months' imprisonment, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work.