LONDON: Sixteen people, including several men and women of Indian descent, have been convicted after a major investigation into a West London-based organised crime group involved in international money laundering and human smuggling, UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said.
Members of the network smuggled in excess of GBP 42 million in cash out of the UK, making hundreds of trips to Dubai and the UAE between 2017 and 2019.
According to NCA investigations, the money was profit from the sale of class A drugs and organised immigration crime.
“This has been a long and complex investigation into an organised crime group involved in money laundering on a commercial scale and organised immigration crime. Over a two-year period, working together with partners in the UK and abroad, NCA investigators were able to uncover the evidence to secure these convictions,” NCA senior investigating officer Chris Hill said.
Around GBP 1.5 million was seized from couriers leaving the UK but flight analysis, evidence from cash declarations in Dubai, and other material seized by the NCA showed the group had succeeded in transporting far more.
In November 2019, following weeks of surveillance, communications and flight data analysis, officers moved in to make arrests, and those charged were prosecuted in two trials at Croydon Crown Court, starting in January 2023.
Gang ringleader Charan Singh, 44, from Hounslow, was among those detained in a series of early morning raids across west London. Along with Singh, Valjeet Singh, Jasbir Singh Kapoor, Jasbir Singh Dhal were found guilty of conspiring to remove criminal property or money laundering. Swander Singh Dhal was found guilty of conspiring to remove criminal property and also conspiring to facilitate a breach of immigration law, and Diljan Singh Malhotra was found guilty of conspiring to facilitate a breach of immigration law.
Amarjeet Alabadis, Jaginder Kapoor, Jackdar Kapoor, Manmon Singh Kapur, Pinky Kapur and Jasbeer Singh Malhotra were convicted of removing criminal property.
All 16 convicted are due to be sentenced in a hearing starting September 11, 2023, including two individuals who entered guilty pleas for money laundering offences prior to the two trials.
As part of the investigation NCA officers also uncovered a plot involving members of the organised crime group to smuggle 17 migrants, including five children and a pregnant woman, into the UK in the back of a van carrying tyres in 2019.
The van was intercepted by Dutch police, who were working with the NCA, before it could reach a ferry at the Hook of Holland.
“This case demonstrates the continued commitment by the NCA to protect the public and target the criminal networks involved in both people smuggling and money laundering. We will continue to use the full range of tactics at our disposal to disrupt and dismantle them,” Hill said in a statement.