Six money launderers who played a key part in arranging the transportation of £104m in total of illegally obtained cash were sentenced yesterday (12 July 2023).
In a statement, the UK' Crown Prosecution Service said Jonathan Johnson, 55, Amy Harrison,27, Beatrice Auty, 26, and Jo-Emma Larvin, 44, were all found guilty of money laundering related offences in April and now have been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months, 24 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months, 42 months imprisonment, and 24 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months, respectively at Isleworth Crown Court.
Muhammed Ilyas, 31, and Nicola Esson, 57, who were all charged as part of the same money laundering plot pleaded guilty at an earlier stage in the proceedings to money laundering offences and have been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months, and 22 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months respectively.
All six defendants agreed to act as ‘money mules' in the transporting of illegally obtained cash out of the UK with the end destination of Dubai.
Johnson, Harrison, Auty and Larvin went on several journeys over to Dubai with suitcases packed with cash which they must have known or suspected was derived from criminal conduct. By virtue of their earlier guilty pleas, the other four defendants had all accepted their involvement in the same illegal activity.
In the trial the court heard prosecution evidence that the mastermind of this operation Abdulla Alfalasi, 47, arranged 83 mostly successful trips over 18 months involving cash in the region of £104m.
Typically, the suitcases the defendants carried contained up to £500,000 and were paid £3,000 for each trip.
Alfalasi who is from Dubai, has been jailed for more than nine years for his involvement in the plot and Tara Hanlon, 32, and Zdenek Kamaryt, 39, were handed prison sentences of 34 months and 31 months respectively, to reflect their involvement.
John Werhun of the CPS said: "These defendants were couriers for one of the largest money laundering cases we have ever prosecuted.
"A colossal amount of dirty money, totalling £104million, was transported to Dubai and these couriers must have known or suspected that the money was derived from criminal conduct.
"Money laundering is an essential aspect of organised criminality, enriching individual criminals and funding their future conduct. It serves to undermine the UK economy and has the potential to threaten the UK's national security. It therefore affects all of us.
"The CPS has commenced proceedings to recover these defendants' criminal proceeds."