A gang of criminals who laundered more than £48m of other organised gangs’ criminal profits have been jailed at Isleworth Crown Court today following an international investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
The gang used an online money transfer business as a front to clean up huge amounts of criminal cash which was sent to Dubai. It is believed the money was then sent to Pakistan.
Tanveer Hussain Jaffery, 61, and Naveed Ahmad, 45, both of Stoke-on-Trent, were the ringleaders of a gang who ran an online money transfer business called R2PK.com. Coded text messages were sent by criminals based all over the UK and couriers were dispatched to collect hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash.
The two couriers, Mohammed Umer Farooq and Syed Yasir Abbas Shah, both of Forest Gate, East London, collected the ‘dirty’ money which was then deposited into different branches of UK banks in amounts of £25,000 or less, allowing the gang to stay below the radar – a process known to law enforcement officials as ‘smurfing’.
Jaffery was the go-between for a number of organised crime gangs, including Mark Kinnimont, the ringleader of the UK’s largest cannabis smuggling gang. Kinnimont was convicted of smuggling £62m of skunk cannabis in March 2010. Jaffery used his money transfer business to launder £70,000 for him.
Peter Millroy, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said:
“Money launderers such as these are as much a part of the criminal underworld as the fraudsters whose cash they clean. HMRC’s dedicated teams of investigators will pursue and bring to justice those who attempt to disguise and hide the illegal profits of other criminals.”
In sentencing, His Honour Judge Johnson said:
“Jaffery was responsible for the transfer of £50 million pounds. He was the head of the organisation and used his co-defendants to protect himself. The money must have come from organised crime and almost definitely from drug trafficking.”
Confiscation proceedings are underway.
Notes to editors
1. Details of defendants are:
* Tanveer Hussain Jaffery, DOB 10/01/1950 of 10 Headingley Grove, Trentham, Stoke On Trent, jailed for 10 years
* Naveed Ahmad, DOB 26/08/1965 of 12 Headingley Grove, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, jailed for six years
* Mohammed Umer Farooq, DOB 20/01/1981 of 231 Winns Avenue Walthamstow, London and 58 Foley Road, Birmingham, jailed for four years
* Syed Yasir Abbas Shah, DOB 16/09/1981 of 78 Pretoria Road, London and 58 Foley Road, Birmingham, jailed for four years.
2. All defendants are charged with Transferring Criminal Property contrary to Section 327(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Being concerned in an arrangement which facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by another contrary to Section 328(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
3. The actual amount laundered was £48.6m. The offences took place between 1 May 2007 and 30 September 2008.
4. They used a system of texting a serial number from a £5 note.. Firstly it is used to identify the recipient of a cash collection, and secondly it acts as an informal receipt to the cash courier handing over the cash, so that he can prove to his OCG that he gave the money to the right person.
The system appeared to work as follows:
* One of the couriers (Farooq or Shah) would send a text to Jaffery with the serial number of a £5 note in their possession, sometimes with a nickname, a location (or postcode) and/or vehicle details
* Jaffery would then forward this to an overseas telephone – presumably an organizer or go-between
* The overseas organizer would presumably then send the same detail to the UK Organised Crime Group
* The £5 note would be used – together with a nickname or car detail also sent – to identify the correct recipient for the cash. It would be handed over as a receipt.
5. If anyone has any information to report to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about any individuals or businesses that may be evading their tax, please contact the Tax Evasion hotline by calling 0800 788 887 or via the website www.hmrc.gov.uk/tax-evasion.
6. To view the photographs associated with this release, please use the link below:
7. Follow HMRC on Twitter at: @HMRCgovuk
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