Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 December 2019

Ten arrested in London for smuggling £15m in dirty money between UK and UAE

London officials praise strong relationship with UAE authorities after cash, drugs and cars seized in operation

Investigators carried out a series of raids on a gang suspected of smuggling £15.5 million of dirty money in suitcases from Britain to Dubai. Image courtesy: UK National Crime Agency
Investigators carried out a series of raids on a gang suspected of smuggling £15.5 million of dirty money in suitcases from Britain to Dubai. Image courtesy: UK National Crime Agency

Ten people have been arrested in London after investigators raided a gang suspected of smuggling £15.5 million (Dh73.5m) of dirty money in suitcases from Britain to the UAE.

In dawn raids on Wednesday, five Indian nationals, one Frenchman and four British – all aged between 28 and 44 – were arrested.

A 41-year-old man thought to be the ringleader in the gang, was held in Hayes, west London, in the operation that was led by the National Crime Agency.

UK officials said a strong relationship with UAE authorities aided the operation.

He and the other suspects were arrested on suspicion of money laundering and assisting illegal immigration, the agency 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 past three years,” the NCA said.

It claimed the group had moved £15.5m (Dh73.7m) over the past three years and tried to smuggle 17 migrants into Britain this summer.

Cash, drugs and a number of cars including Range Rovers, Audis and BMWs were seized during the raids in Hounslow, Hayes, Uxbridge and Southall, in the British capital.

The raids follow an NCA investigation, supported by the Met Police, into cash seizures of more than £1.5m (Dh7.1m)made by Border Force officers over 2019.

"Cash is the lifeblood of organised crime groups and they need the services of money launderers," said Chris Hill, the agency's senior investigating officer.

"We believe that the action we and our partners have taken will have caused permanent damage to a well-established money-laundering network.

"We are determined to do all we can to target illicit financial flows and hit organised criminal networks where it hurts – in the pocket."

“The National Economic Crime Centre was able to assist the case team in arranging forensic analysis of seized bank notes. We were also able to use our relationships with our international partners in the UAE to obtain evidence in relation to this case," said Ben Russell, deputy director of the NECC.

Updated: November 21, 2019 04:30 PM

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