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HMRC Foils GBP100m Money Laundering Ring

by Robin Pilgrim,, London

13 March 2007

Three members of a money laundering gang were jailed for a total of 15 years at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday, HM Revenue & Customs has announced.

According to the UK tax authority, between June 2003 and September 2005, the gang laundered more than GBP100 million in cash for criminal organisations and individuals throughout the United Kingdom.

Zaka Ud Din, Ghafoor Ud Din, and Mr Sabz Ali Khojo had all pleaded guilty at earlier hearings. A fourth defendant, Stephen Giles Parker was found guilty on 25 January.

The court heard that this large scale money laundering operation was centred around a Money Services Bureau (MSB) in Croydon. This was run by Zaka Ud Din, with the assistance of Sabz Ali Khojo. As well as offering legitimate money services to the local community, the Bureau was being used as a front for a much larger operation, offering the laundering of cash.

HM Revenue & Customs Assistant Chief Investigation Officer Debbie Hayman, commenting after the sentencing, announced that:

"This successful operation, which has lasted for more than two years, has highlighted the relentless approach of HMRC in tracking down and prosecuting money laundering in this country."

"The ability of criminals to dispose of their ill-gotten gains is essential to criminal enterprise. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, sought to make the disposal of the profit from crime as difficult as possible and this operation, believed to be one of the largest successful prosecutions in the UK under this legislation has, in the opinion of HMRC, dismantled an organisation that was willing to launder huge amounts of criminal cash for personal gain."

"There can be no justification for this type of crime, it is a crime born out of pure greed, and we are delighted to have ended the activities of this group in such a professional and comprehensive manner."

"The sentences delivered today reflect the seriousness with which this type of crime is viewed and we will endeavour to search out anyone, at any level, involved in these activities."

In sentencing the men, Judge Peter Thompson observed that:

"You were all caught after long and complex investigations by HM Revenue and Customs and the public should be thankful for the officers having broken up your organisation and for having arrested you. You were deeply involved in disposing of criminal cash on a massive scale and you have brought disgrace and humiliation to both yourselves and your families."

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