Gang laundered £26m from Buckinghamshire base to 100 overseas banks

An investigation found that members used seven different fake companies for fraud purposes
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A gang operating in Buckinghamshire have been jailed after, officers discovered they were laundering money through 100 banks.

HMRC has discovered that a crime group based in Buckinghamshire sent £26 million of dirty money to Dubai. HMRC says the group would make cash deposits at banks a dozen times a day and continued this process for almost a year.

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Six people have been jailed for a total of 26 years in connection to the illegal activity. Mohammed Zafer, of Dashwood Close, in Slough, was identified as the leader of the group. HMRC states that he would travel hundreds of miles to collect and deposit criminal cash at 100 banks from a base in Buckinghamshire.

Ringleader: Mohammed ZaferRingleader: Mohammed Zafer
Ringleader: Mohammed Zafer

They each acted as directors of seven different companies that were set up purely to launder money, the Government adds. Each business was found to be committing alcohol duty fraud.

Investigators uncovered a false paperwork trail that had been started to legitimise the criminal activity.

A HMRC spokesperson said: “A staggering 2,376 deposits were made at more than 100 banks across 193 days between July 2015 and June 2016 – which averages at 12 deposits every single day.

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“Once the money was inside the UK banking system it was quickly transferred out of the jurisdiction and into banks in Dubai, where Mohammed Zafer had business interests.”

Some of the money recovered by investigatorsSome of the money recovered by investigators
Some of the money recovered by investigators

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

Four other men; Sarfraz Hussain, 45, of Manchester, Anthony Foster, 41, and Shakil Abbas, 37, both of Rochdale; along with Zorrabar Singh, 36, of Twickenham, admitted money laundering offences at Reading Crown Court in June 2022.

Matthew Moignard, operational lead, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “These sentences reflect the industrial scale of this criminal operation, which was led by Mohammed Zafer.

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“Money laundering is not a victimless crime. It robs our public services of much needed money and it funds other organised criminality that harms our communities.

“We are on the side of the law-abiding majority and will investigate anyone suspected of tax fraud and laundering the proceeds of crime.

“Anyone with information about any type of tax fraud can contact HMRC online.”

All six were sentenced to a combined total of 26 years and seven months yesterday (21 February).

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Kevin Hansford from the CPS Serious Economic Organised Crime and International Directorate (SEOCID) said: “These defendants used overseas bank accounts to transfer vast quantities of dirty money out of the UK and in doing so undermined the UK economy.

“Whenever our legal test is met, the CPS will always prosecute fraudsters such as those in this group and ensure they are held publicly accountable.

“In some cases we can go further with our Proceeds of Crime team recovering criminal assets so offenders do not financially benefit from their crimes.”