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

29 Apr 2024 12:56 PM

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:

How to protect yourself:

Notes to Editors

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

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

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