Four men who conspired to launder $15.5m which was stolen eleven years ago from a German bank have been sentenced to 18 years in prison following an extensive financial investigation by SOCA.
The original electronic bank theft, which took place in August 2000, was carried out by Matthew Holmes and Donald Somers, both inside-men working for the Commerzbank in Germany. They were convicted after an investigation by German police.
Six years later, SOCA investigators identified that funds being transferred to the UK were the same criminal funds stolen by Holmes and Somers and began investigating.
Officers discovered that through another employee of the bank, Leigh Greest, the men had enlisted a specialist criminal money laundering group headed by Herbert Austin to try to obscure the money trail.
Austin and co-conspirator Raymond Jewitt had created an international system to receive and wash the stolen money which exploited offshore companies, controlled via trusted associates and faceless administrative nominees. They then used an additional layer of offshore banks in jurisdictions including the Channel Islands and Cyprus before transferring the funds to the accounts of Equity Holdings and Investments Limited and Westfield Corporation Limited in the UK.
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