Money launderer tried to flee UK with £1.5m cash stuffed in suitcases
A money launderer caught by Border Force officers trying to smuggle £1.5 million in suitcases on a flight to Dubai has been stripped of his illicit cash.
Mohamed Imran Khan Sathar Khan, 36, who claimed to be living in Ilford, checked in four suitcases rammed with £10 and £20 notes as he arrived to catch a flight from Stansted airport in August last year.
He was stopped and later prosecuted after border guards became suspicious about his cases, which each weighed 20kg, and found the money inside.
Khan has already been jailed for three years and nine months by a judge at Chelmsford crown court after admitting two charges of money laundering. He was also convicted at trial for possessing criminal property and attempting to remove it.
Now the cash has been confiscated after a judge at another court hearing approved an application by the National Crime Agency for a forfeiture order.
Hailing the successful application, Matt Rivers, from the agency, said: “The forfeiture order demonstrates our determination to remove the proceeds of crime from organised criminals. Over the past year we have investigated cash seizures at UK borders totalling more than £8 million.
“In this case, with the help of our partners, we were able to intercept the cash during the money-laundering process. Our investigation continues in relation to the wider criminal network behind this seizure.”
Investigations have already revealed that Khan had made several previous trips to Dubai before he was arrested.
Sniffer dogs trained to detect cash, as well as the use of intelligence and remaining alert to suspicious behaviour, are among the tactics used by Border Force to detect illicit cash movements in and out of the country.
In previous successes, a sniffer dog called Jessie found more than £1 million in cash that was being smuggled through Heathrow airport in her first five months working for the Border Force. Her finds included £350,000 in freight that was being sent abroad and large undeclared sums being brought into the country in hand luggage from the Middle East.
Another dog found £56,000 of undeclared cash in the hand luggage of a man flying from Gatwick to the Albanian capital Tirana.