Mon. May 29th, 2023

Four people have been convicted of smuggling suitcases stuffed with millions of pounds in criminal cash from London to Dubai.
The National Crime Agency said Jo-Emma Larvin, Jonathan Johnson, Beatrice Auty and Amy Harrison were part of a scheme which saw more than £104m leave the UK.
The cash was moved via Heathrow in 83 trips between 2019-2020, officers said.
The four were convicted of removing cash which they knew or suspected was the result of criminal activity.
On Tuesday at Isleworth Crown Court, fifth defendant Liam Rabone, 29, from West Kensington, London, was cleared of the charge.
The trial previously heard the defendants would travel business class to allow for extra luggage, with a letter from a company called Omnivest given to customs in Dubai while the cash was declared.
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Bundles of £10, £20 and £50 notes gained through criminality were transported from England to the United Arab Emirates
Those transporting the suitcases were paid about £3,000 for making the journey, the jury was told.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the operation was overseen by ringleader Abdullah Alfalasi, 47, who was jailed for more than nine years in July 2022.
Speaking when Alfalasi was sentenced, the NCA called the money laundering network "one of the largest we've ever investigated".
Officers said the network collected the cash, thought to be gained from drug dealing across the UK, and vacuum packed it in suitcases sprayed with coffee or air fresheners in a bid to hide the contents from detection dogs.
Each case contained about £500,000, the NCA said, with couriers communicating on a WhatsApp group called "sunshine and lollipops".
Larvin, 44, and Johnson, 55, a couple from Ripon in North Yorkshire, took eight cases containing a total of £2.8m on an Emirates flight on 9 September 2020, the trial heard.
Larvin, a model, also accompanied Harrison, 27, of, Worcester Park, Surrey, on the same journey two weeks earlier.
Officers said Harrison made three trips in total, taking 15 suitcases containing around £6m.
Auty, 26, from Fulham, London, checked in seven suitcases containing £3.4m during her journeys and was also involved in the "logistical arrangements" for a further 16 trips, the NCA said.
Five other couriers are due to be sentenced at a later date along with those convicted on Tuesday.
They are Nicola Esson, 56, and Stacey Borg, 41, both from Leeds, West Yorkshire, Paige Henry, 25, from Birmingham, West Midlands, Megan Reeves, 30, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire and Muhammad Ilyas, 30, from Slough, Berkshire, the NCA said.
Ian Truby, NCA senior investigating officer, described all those involved as "important cogs in a large money laundering wheel".
"The crime group they belonged to was responsible for smuggling eye-watering amounts of criminal cash out of the UK," he said.
"This simply wouldn't have been possible without couriers doing their bidding, in return for a sunshine holiday and a slice of the profit."
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