Money launderers jailed
The money laundering rules are designed to protect the UK financial system and put in place certain controls to prevent businesses being used for money laundering by criminals and terrorists. Failure to comply with the money laundering regulations could result in a civil financial penalty or criminal prosecution.
A recent criminal investigation by HMRC focused on a husband and wife team that ran three bureaux de change, ostensibly to serve the London tourist market. However, this was merely a front and the main trade of the business was exchanging large amounts of Sterling for high denomination Euro notes for organised crime groups.
When HMRC officers raided the company offices in September 2011 they found more than £100,000 in cash on the premises, plus a set of keys to safe deposit boxes at Harrods containing more than £250,000 in cash and valuable gold jewellery.
An astonishing £145 million of cash was laundered and the husband and wife team have been jailed for a total of 19 years. Two sisters who were involved in transporting the money were also found guilty and sentenced to jail terms.
Peter Millroy, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:
‘This gang of criminals were under the delusion they could escape detection – they were wrong and are now paying the price behind bars. Their activities bore no relation to what is expected from high street bureaux de change. Instead they used their business as a front to launder the profits made by many of the UK’s most serious and dangerous crime gangs.’