A man suspected of being a key figure in an international money laundering network responsible for moving tens of millions of pounds out of the UK has been arrested by the National Crime Agency in London.
The Emirati national, aged 46, was detained at a flat in Lowndes Square, Belgravia at around lunchtime today.
He is alleged to have organised travel arrangements for at least 26 couriers who between them have removed an estimated £100 million criminal cash from the UK to Dubai.
Two of those couriers are already serving jail terms following investigations by the NCA.
Tara Hanlon, 31, from Leeds, was detained by Border Force at Heathrow in October 2020 as she attempted to leave the country with suitcases containing almost £2 million. She later admitted smuggling another £3.5 million out of the UK in other trips, and was sentenced to 34 months in jail in July 2021.
Czech national Zdenek Kamaryt, 38, was also stopped at Heathrow in November 2020. He was attempting to board a flight to Dubai carrying £1.4 million. Kamaryt pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to 26 months in March this year.
So far 21 additional suspected couriers linked to the network have been interviewed by NCA investigators. Ten have been arrested, eight in a series of raids in May this year. All were later released under investigation.
NCA senior investigating officer Ian Truby said:
“The man arrested today is suspected of having played a key role in the movement of tens of millions of pounds of criminal cash out of the UK, where it could be laundered to invest in further criminality.
“The criminal network we allege he was involved in is one of the biggest of its kind we have investigated, paying couriers thousands to carry millions of pounds at a time crammed into suitcases.
“This type of activity is the lifeblood of organised crime, which cannot function without it.
“The man arrested on suspicion of money laundering today remains in custody being questioned by the NCA and our investigation continues.”