ringleader of the largest in Britain money-laundering the gang was jailed after a “colossal” criminal the business was broken up police.
Abdullah Alfalasi, 47, Emirati national, credited with dozens of couriers in his role at the helm of Gang. AT total they are smuggled more over £100 million of filthy cash out of from the UK to Dubai between April 2019 and November 2020.
He was sentenced to nine years and seven months in prisonafter “significant network” of the perpetrators were exposed arrest at Heathrow Airport in October 2020.
Couriers received between £3,000 and £8,000 at a time. BUT total of 83 trips were made, with couriers carrying up to £500,000 in each suitcase. The boxes were packed with coffee grounds or air fresheners in an attempt to deceive service dogs.
Alfalasi’s firm, Omnivest Gold Trading, was used as a front. for in cash declarations in Dubai. Dirty money come from sources, including organized crime and drug trafficking.
Justice Davis at Isleworth Crown Court in West London, said: “There is no doubt that this was a significant network under your guardianship, and not just under your guardianship, you were the principal, but this clear that others were involved. you were involved in facilitation of removal of huge amount of cash from this country via Heathrow Airport to Dubai.
“You used yourself on number of cases, as well network of 36 hired couriers, who received somewhere around £3,000 plus travel expenses and covered with letter from the company with in which you were intimately connected… to endow it criminal company with cloak with veil of legitimacy.”
The gang was exposed when recruiting consultant Tara Hanlon, 31, was pulled over at Heathrow Airport. on October 3, 2020, transportation bank banknotes totaling £1.9m in vacuum bags. She admitted to smuggling another £3.5 million. out of country and received threeyear-prison sentence.
About a month later, Czech national Zdenek Kamarit, 39, was detained when he tried to board flight from Heathrow to Dubai with £1.3m of cash in his bags. he was imprisoned for two years and 10 months.
Alfalasi personally carried total of £6 million on 10 trips to set network of mules. He was arrested in Belgravia’s apartment. on December 14 last year while visiting London.
John Verun of The Crown Prosecution Service stated: “This one of the biggest money-laundering cases that CPS has ever litigated to date. Colossal amount of dirty money totaling £104 million was moved to Dubai at Alfalasi’s direction.”
Prosecutor Julian Christopher QC said that Alfalazi hired couriers “generally young people, attracted on money”, travel on business cool flights, making use of additional baggage allowance.
Suitcases, weighing up up to 40 kg, were also packed with mouthwash and clothes hangers in an attempt to deceive the x-ray machines. couriers announced money to customs on arrival in Dubai, before returning home with empty bags soon after.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said it was considered the biggest cash money-laundering conspiracy brought to justice in United Kingdom. senior Investigator Ian Truby said: “Cash is the lifeblood. of organized crime groups they reinvest in activities such as drug trafficking, which fuel the violence and insecurity around world”.
Alfalazi’s couriers included Nicola Esson, 55, from Leeds. who was arrested after the NCA raids in May 2021, and Muhammad Ilyas, 29, from Slough, who was detained in February 2020 Both pleaded guilty to deleting criminal property and wait for the verdict.
Michelle Clark, British who allegedly helped recruit mules, is believed to still be in Dubai is wanted from the NCA.