By Claire West
Two jailed for a total of 9 years in £5 Million money laundering case
On Friday 7 August at the Old Bailey two men were sentenced to a total of nine years after they were found guilty of laundering nearly £5 million of criminal funds, following an investigation by City of London Police.
Harkishan Talwar, 44, from Southall received two sentences of eight and three years to run concurrently for laundering £3.5 million of criminal funds over a four month period.
Muhammad Khan, 24, from Southall was tried in his absence after breaching his bail conditions in July 2013 by fleeing the country. He was found guilty of laundering £1.4 million and was sentenced to one year in prison.
On 21 January 2013 both men were arrested on suspicion of money laundering after officers witnessed an exchange of £50,000 cash between both men in Talwar’s Range Rover on Hambrough Road, Southall.
A note found on Khan identified that he had taken part in a number of earlier cash handovers totalling £1.4 million, for which he was paid £5500.
Talwar ran a Money Service Bureau called Fortune Exchange on Earls Court Road, when police searched the premises and seized £250,000 cash and notebooks belonging to Talwar showing the illegal movements of a further £3.5 million.
Talwar and Khan were charged with money laundering on 22 January 2013.
In July 2013, following an investigation assisted by the HM Revenue & Customs, Talwar was also charged with further money laundering offences.
Investigating Officer Detective Constable James Nellist from the City of London Police said:
"Khan and Talwar were making a lot of money by laundering millions of pounds on behalf of criminals and in doing so played a vital and significant role in enabling serious criminal behaviour.
“Using his position as the director of a Money Service Bureau to help transfer criminal money around the globe in an attempt to make the money look legitimate and hide it from law enforcement agencies, Talwar is as culpable as the criminals he helped.
“This is the force’s second money laundering conviction within a week. These results and the dismantling of criminal enterprises, is a message to those supporting criminal gangs; we will relentlessly pursue and prosecute you”
Chris Gill, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said:
"This was a complex operation and we are pleased to have supported our colleagues from the City of London Police. Talwar claimed to run a legitimate Money Service Bureau, but this was merely a front for laundering criminal cash.
"Money laundering is a serious crime and we will take action to bring those responsible before the courts so justice can be served."