Two men have been sentenced to a total of nine years in prison after being found guilty of laundering almost £5m of criminal funds.
Harkishan Talwar and Muhammad Khan were sentenced at the Old Bailey last week. Talwar received two sentences of eight and three years to run concurrently for laundering £3.5m of criminal funds over four months.
Khan was tried in his absence after fleeing the country in July 2013. He was found guilty of laundering £1.4m and jailed for one year.
The men were arrested in January 2013 on suspicion of money laundering after officers saw an exchange of £50,000 in cash in Talwar’s Range Rover.
Talwar ran a money service bureau called Fortune Exchange on Earls Court Road. When police searched the premises they seized £250,000 cash and notebooks belonging to Talwar showing the illegal movements of a further £3.5m.
City of London Police investigating officer detective constable James Nellist says:
“Khan and Talwar were making a lot of money by laundering millions of pounds on behalf of criminals and in doing so played a vital and significant role in enabling serious criminal behaviour.
“Using his position as the director of a Money Service Bureau to help transfer criminal money around the globe in an attempt to make the money look legitimate and hide it from law enforcement agencies, Talwar is as culpable as the criminals he helped.”
HM Revenue & Customs assistant director of criminal investigation Chris Gill, says: “This was a complex operation and we are pleased to have supported our colleagues from the City of London Police. Talwar claimed to run a legitimate money service bureau, but this was merely a front for laundering criminal cash.
“Money laundering is a serious crime and we will take action to bring those responsible before the courts so justice can be served.”