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Two money laundering cash couriers sentenced for part in transporting £104m in criminal cash out of the UK

Two money laundering cash couriers were recently (26 April 2024) imprisoned for their role in transporting illegally obtained money out of the United Kingdom.

Mehdi Amrollahibyouki, 41, and Ali Al Nawab, 44, were sentenced to four years imprisonment and two years imprisonment suspended for two years respectively for money-laundering related offences at Isleworth Crown Court.

In terms of their respective levels of participation in the organised crime group, Amrollahibyouki was both an organiser and a courier, whereas Al Nawab acted solely as a courier. In their capacity as couriers both transported criminally obtained cash from London to Dubai.

The National Crime Agency investigation revealed that Amrollahibyouki and Nawab concealed used several million pounds of bank notes in suitcases which they took from Heathrow to Dubai on eight different flights in 2020.

These eight trips were part of a total of 85 cash courier trips arranged over an 18-month period by the head of the organised crime group, Abdulla Alfalsi. On 28 July 2022, Alfalsi was sentenced to nine years imprisonment at Isleworth Crown Court for money laundering offences. The total amount of criminally acquired cash flown out of London to Dubai was around £104 million.

John Werhun of the CPS recently said:

“Criminals always want to find ways to hold on to their illegally obtained cash and one method to do this is to ship it out of the United Kingdom.

“In total, the organised crime group transported vast quantities of criminally acquired cash out of the United Kingdom, totalling £104million. As cash couriers, Amrollahibyouki and Al Nawab, were a vital part of the criminal enterprise and must have known or suspected the cash was derived from criminal conduct.  

“Money-laundering is an essential part of organised criminality, enriching individual criminals and funding their future conduct. It serves to undermine the United Kingdom economy and has the potential to threaten our national security. It is therefore a crime that affects all of us.

“The CPS has commenced proceedings to recover these defendants’ criminal proceeds.”

Money muling

A money mule is a person who transfers stolen money between different countries

Money mules are recruited, sometimes unwittingly, by criminals to transfer illegally obtained money between different bank accounts. Money mules receive the stolen funds into their account, they are then asked to withdraw it and wire the money to a different account, often one overseas, keeping some of the money for themselves.

Even if you’re unaware that the money you’re transferring was illegally obtained, you have played an important role in fraud and money laundering and can still be prosecuted. Criminals will often use fake job adverts or create social media posts about opportunities to make money quickly, in order to lure potential money mule recruits.

Behaviours that put you at risk of becoming a money mule:

  • Responding to job adverts, or social media posts that promise large amounts of money for very little work
  • Failing to research a potential employer, particularly one based overseas, before handing over your personal or financial details to them
  • Allowing an employer, or someone you don’t know and trust, to use your bank account to transfer money

How to protect yourself:

  • No legitimate company will ever ask you to use your own bank account to transfer their money. Don’t accept any job offers that ask you to do this
  • Be especially wary of job offers from people or companies overseas as it will be harder for you to find out if they really are legitimate
  • Never give your financial details to someone you don’t know and trust

Notes to Editors

  • John Werhun is a Specialist Prosecutor in the CPS Serious Economic Organised Crime and International Directorate (SEOCID)
  • Mehdi Amrollahibyouki (DOB: 02/09/1982) was sentenced to four years imprisonment for money laundering related offences
  • Ali Al Nawab (DOB: 01/01/1989) was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years for money laundering related offences

Other defendants in this series of related case sentenced on 15 March 2024:

  • Paige Henry (DOB: 07.08.97) was found guilty of money a laundering related offences and sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years

Other defendants in this series of related cases sentenced on 24 February 2024:

  • Bridget Jane Taylor (DOB: 29/01/80) was found guilty of money a laundering related offences and sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, suspended for two years
  • Samantha Horst (DOB: 22/05/72) was found guilty of a money laundering related offences and sentenced to 24 months imprisonment, suspended for two years
  • Craig Bramall (DOB: 07/08/81) was found guilty of money laundering related offences and sentenced to 17 months imprisonment, suspended for two years
  • Toni Groves (DOB: 17/05/98) was found guilty of money laundering related offences and sentenced to a defence cost order out of central funds to be taxed

Other defendants in this series of related cases sentenced on 12 July 2023:

  • Jonathan Johnson (DOB: 10/10/67) was found guilty of a money laundering related offence and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months and 100 hours unpaid work 
  • Amy Harrison (DOB: 26/05/95) was found guilty of money a laundering related offence and sentenced to 24 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months and 200 hours unpaid work
  • Beatrice Auty (DOB: 07/07/96) was found guilty of money laundering related offences and sentenced to 42 months imprisonment
  • Jo-Emma Larvin (DOB: 12/11/78) was found guilty of a money laundering related offence and sentenced to 24 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months and 200 hours unpaid work
  • Muhammed Ilyas (Dob 15/10/92) pleaded guilty to a money laundering related offence and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months and 100 hours unpaid work
  • Nicola Esson (Dob 24/09/66) pleaded guilty to a money laundering related offence and sentenced to 22 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months and 100 hours unpaid work

 

Channel website: https://www.cps.gov.uk/

Original article link: https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/two-money-laundering-cash-couriers-sentenced-part-transporting-ps104m-criminal-cash-out-uk

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