£2 million of dirty money laundered through front businesses by the infamous Italian mafia ‘Ndrangheta’ in London was seized by the UK authorities.
Italian mafia based in Italy’s southern Calabria region set up fake businesses in London, which were used to clean up the dirty money made abroad.
The scheme was first discovered by investigators in 2018 when a frozen bank account in the UK was suspiciously receiving money from several Italy based companies. Once the funds were in the account, they were then being transferred to another account registered under another fake business.
The two bank accounts held £1,723,706 and Euro 356,043 respectively.
The firms were set up using fake addresses to help money launderers hide their tracks. The criminals were using ‘layering’, is a process to hide the origins of their proceeds by performing multiple bank transfers.
With the help of Europol and Guardia di Finanza in Italy, the Police in London were able to identify and link the criminals to previous financial crimes committed abroad.
‘Thanks to the persistent efforts of FI Andy Morrison during this two year investigation, and in collaboration with Italian authorities, the FIU were able to reveal the true intentions of the individuals behind this shell company based in the UK’ said Detective Inspector Paul Curtis, from the City of London Police’s Financial Investigation Unit.
Further stating; ‘They set it up with one intention in mind, to launder millions of pounds, obtained through criminality.’
‘The weight of the evidence against the account holder meant they had no choice but to not contest our forfeiture application.’
‘Money laundering is integral to organised crime and the City of London Police will continue to make every effort to cut access to money laundering routes, which is key to defeating organised crime at source.’