UK authorities have sentenced the leader of a money laundering ring, which smuggled tens of millions in criminal proceeds out of the UK, to nine years in jail. The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) had arrested the 47-year-old UAE national in December 2021.
The convict arranged travel for a network of couriers, who collectively smuggled £104 million ($126.74m) in drug proceeds from the UK to Dubai during 2019-2020. The couriers would pack large sums into suitcases and earn over 10% commission from the smuggled amount. The ringleader made multiple such trips himself. The authorities believe that the couriers collectively earned over £12 million ($14.62m) from this illicit operation.
The ring members collected cash from criminal groups around the UK, and vacuum-packed and separated it into suitcases, each containing around £500,000 ($609,347) and weighing around 40kg. They then sprayed the sealed cash with coffee or air fresheners to evade detection by Border Force detection dogs. All couriers traveled in business class to avail of the extra luggage allowance. Four other couriers have already been arrested, of which two have received their sentences.
Source: National Crime Agency, UK