According to the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), a network that used to fly business class to Dubai to smuggle millions of pounds in cash has been found guilty.
The NCA claims that the UK-based money laundering gang, with the assistance of UAE authorities, trafficked some £104 million ($130 million) to Dubai.
The NCA has dismantled a network of criminal cash couriers that laundered more than £100m by smuggling it out of the UK to Dubai in the UAE.
— National Crime Agency (NCA) (@NCA_UK) April 26, 2023
Beatrice Auty, Jonathan Johnson, and Jo Emma Larvin were convicted guilty of money laundering on Tuesday by a UK court. Between November 2019 and October 2020, the group flew 83 times from the UK to Dubai while transporting cash concealed inside luggage.
Abdullah Alfalsi, the network’s ringleader, was given a sentence of more than nine years in jail in July 2022.
According to NCA Director Adrian Searle, money laundering on this magnitude enables corrupt elites and criminals to conceal their illicitly obtained funds.
He said that international controller networks, who assist in smuggling money made through scams, human trafficking, and drug crime, handle cash smugglers.
The gang reportedly communicated using a WhatsApp group named Sunshine and Lollipops. The inmates were paid about $3,700 for each trip, and they took business class flights since they could bring more luggage.
The smugglers extorted money from criminals that they thought came from selling drugs. The cash was divided up into vacuum-packed suitcases, each of which contained about $625,000 and weighed 40 kg.
The suitcases were doused in coffee or air fresheners to ward off Border Force detection dogs.