By Marcus Leach

Officers from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigating suspected money laundering offences in excess of £200 million have arrested 15 people during early morning raids.

Around 250 investigators from HMRC, assisted by officers from a number of police forces, carried out over 20 property searches in Rochdale, Manchester, Bradford, Southport and Nottingham as part of the enquiry.

The arrests come as a result of a long-running HMRC investigation, codenamed Operation Enigma.

“Operation Enigma is an HMRC-led investigation targeting money laundering offences. At various stages of the investigation, we have worked closely with colleagues from Greater Manchester Police and West Yorkshire & the Humber Police," HMRC’s Deputy Director for criminal investigation Alan Lee commented.

“Further details cannot be provided at this early stage, as our investigation is continuing. However, our activity today sends out a clear message to those involved in this type of criminality. Attempts to launder the proceeds of crime are treated extremely seriously by HMRC, and we will relentlessly pursue any individuals or crime gangs believed to be actively involved in money laundering.”