Press release -
'Cash in a bag' money launderer jailed
A lorry driver caught smuggling more than £205,000 in cash out of the UK in a plastic bin bag has been jailed for three years, after an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation.
Milos Dukic (46) of Ljubljana, Slovenia, was stopped by Border Force officers at the Port of Dover as he attempted to board a ferry to Calais, France, in February 2016. A search of the cab of the lorry he was driving uncovered £205,645 in bank notes, hidden in a black plastic bag. The £20, £10 and £5 notes weighed more than 14 kilos in total.
Dukic was arrested on suspicion of money laundering and the matter was referred to HMRC for investigation.
HMRC investigators found that the cash smuggled by Dukic was from an illegal tobacco scam orchestrated by Warrington man, John Parker (57). Forensic evidence linked Parker to the plastic bag, found in the cab, containing the cash.
Alan Tully, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
"Forensic investigation allowed us to link the cash found in the lorry’s cab back to the wider tobacco smuggling operation, and put these men behind bars.
"Working with our partner agencies, HMRC will not hesitate to investigate those committing tax related fraud, and recover any proceeds from the crime, to ensure that no one is beyond our reach. Anyone with information about alleged financial crime or tobacco smuggling can contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”
Dukic was charged on 16 February 2016 with two Proceeds of Crime offences - concealing and removing criminal property. He pleaded guilty at Canterbury Crown Court on 30 June 2016 to one count of money laundering by concealing criminal property. He was jailed for three years on 23 August 2016.
John Parker and lorry driver, Dragisa Jovanovic (63) were jailed on 19 July 2016 for excise duty evasion, after a tobacco smuggling investigation by HMRC. The two men were arrested at an industrial estate in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire in April 2016, as they unloaded 300 boxes of tobacco from a lorry, which also contained furniture.
1.8 tonnes of illicit tobacco, worth more than £350,000 in evaded excise duty, was seized. A bin liner found in Parker’s car contained £125,000 cash intended as payment for the tobacco; another bag contained £16,000 in cash as payment for the lorry driver - Jovanovic.
John Parker was jailed for four years and Dragisa Jovanovic was jailed for two-and-a-half years at Luton Crown Court.
HMRC has already seized the cash and confiscation proceedings are now under way.
Notes for Editors
1. Milos DUKIC, 02/10/1969, of Ljubljana, Slovenia, pleaded guilty to money laundering, contrary to Section 327(1)(a) of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) 2002 – concealing criminal property.
2. Photographs are available from HMRC’s Flickr site www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
3. John PARKER, 29/05/1959, of Edwards Gardens, Woolston, Warrington, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty.
4. Dragisa JOVANOVIC, 17/10/1952, a Serbian national, of Via Marco Polo, Venice Lido, Italy, pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty.
5. Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.
HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.