Four people who used a North London hotel room to conduct their money laundering activities were imprisoned this week for nearly 12 years. The professional operation saw almost £1 million pounds switch hands on the day British police made arrests.
“Money laundering props up organized crime. It helps criminals hide their profits, spend those profits, and bankroll further crime,” Kevin Gee of the National Crime Agency (NCA) told media. “By targeting money launderers the NCA can be a real thorn in the side of organized criminals and cause major disruption to their plans.”
In November of last year, surveillance officers of the NCA watched Yongheng Jin, a French national, meet with Marsel Meco, an Albanian national, in the car park of a hotel in North London. From the boot of a car the men removed a large black suitcase.
Officers stopped Jin as he entered the hotel with the suitcase and found that it contained approximately £420,000. In Jin’s hotel room, officers recovered numerous items associated with money laundering including a cash counting machine, bundles of cash, a UV counterfeit money detector, scales, rubber bands, cash bags, numerous pieces of paper recording large numbers, bank cards, and multiple mobile phones.
During the search another man, Luis Martos Gardner, a Spanish national, knocked at the door. Suspecting he may be involved, officers arrested him and when they searched his car they recovered over £340,000 split into several bags. They also discovered several mobile phones and a pocket diary which contained multiple bank notes of differing currency.
After gathering further evidence, officers arrested Xiaoqun Tu, a German national and wife of Yongheng Jin, at their home in Sale, Manchester in March 2017. They recovered yet more mobile phones, a laptop and more cash.
All four pleaded guilty to money laundering offences and were sentenced to a total of 11 years and 10 months imprisonment.
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