Thursday Nov 21, 2019
LONDON: At least 10 people were arrested by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) on Wednesday for smuggling £15.5 million out of the United Kingdom (UK).
The NCA carried out a series of raids on a gang suspected of smuggling money, including a 41-year-old Indian man thought to be the ringleader. Five Indian nationals, one French and four British — all aged between 28 and 44 — were arrested and held on suspicion of money laundering and facilitating illegal immigration.
The NCA said 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 British crime agency said the group had moved £15.5 million over the past three years and also claimed they tried to smuggle 17 migrants into Britain this summer.
Cash, drugs and a number of cars including Range Rovers, Audis and BMWs were also seized during the raids in Hounslow, Hayes, Uxbridge and Southall.
The operation followed an investigation into cash seizures of more than £1.5 million made by Border Force officials during 2019.
Chris Hill, a senior NCA 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,” he said. “We are determined to do all we can to target illicit financial flows and hit organised criminal networks where it hurts — in the pocket.”
Deputy Director of National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) Ben Russell said, “The NECC was able to assist the case team in arranging a forensic analysis of seized banknotes. We were also able to use our relationships with our international partners in the UAE to obtain evidence in relation to this case.”
He added, “The NECC has a unique role in coordinating the response to cash smuggling with other national and international law enforcement partners. Working together, our aim is to arrest and disrupt the criminals who carry out this type of activity. Our joined approach within UK Law Enforcement and across the globe helps bring more people to justice.”