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Home Breaking Gang Sentenced to Over 26 Years for Laundering £26 Million

Gang Sentenced to Over 26 Years for Laundering £26 Million

A criminal gang orchestrating an elaborate money laundering scheme, responsible for funnelling £26 million of illicit funds to Dubai, has been handed lengthy prison sentences totaling over 26 years.

Led by Mohammed Zafer, the gang operated out of Buckinghamshire, traversing hundreds of miles to deposit criminal proceeds at various banks up to a dozen times a day over the span of nearly a year.

Each member of the gang served as director of seven different shell companies solely established to launder money, suspected to have been generated through alcohol duty fraud.

The modus operandi involved creating a false paper trail to legitimize the substantial sums, which were then collected by a network of cash couriers within just 11 months.

In a staggering display of criminal activity, the gang executed 2,376 deposits across 100 banks over 193 days between July 2015 and June 2016, averaging 12 deposits daily.

Upon successfully infiltrating the UK banking system, the laundered funds were swiftly transferred out of the jurisdiction and into banks in Dubai, where Mohammed Zafer maintained business interests.

Following a six-week trial at Reading Crown Court, Mohammed Zafer, 48, of Slough, and his cousin, Shehbaz Iqbal, 41, of Windsor, were convicted of money laundering offences in December 2023.

Additionally, four other individuals—Sarfraz Hussain, 45, of Manchester, Anthony Foster, 41, and Shakil Abbas, 37, both of Rochdale and Zorrabar Singh, 36, of Twickenham—pleaded guilty to money laundering charges at Reading Crown Court in June 2022.

Matthew Moignard, Operational Lead of the Fraud Investigation Service at HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), emphasized the extensive scope of the criminal operation, underlining the impact of money laundering on public services and communities.

Kevin Hansford from the CPS Serious Economic Organised Crime and International Directorate (SEOCID) reiterated the commitment to prosecuting fraudsters, highlighting the collaborative efforts to ensure offenders are held accountable and to recover criminal assets.

In a decisive judgment, all six defendants were sentenced to a combined total of 26 years and seven months on February 21, 2024.

For individuals with information related to tax fraud or money laundering, HMRC encourages reporting through their online portal.

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