City of London Police seize $22 million from suspected Russian crime gang
City of London Police has seized $22 million six weeks after arresting a City broker on suspicion of using the futures market to launder money from a Russian organised crime group.
Detectives took possession of the four cheques under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) from a clearing firm, located in the Square Mile, after the company closed down the suspect’s five trading accounts.
The arrest and money seizure are the result of a four month investigation by the force’s Money Laundering Unit, working closely with Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE), into suspicious trading on the futures market. ICE monitors market activity using surveillance tools and technology to identify suspicious trading patterns.
A Russian oil firm, a Swiss investment company, a British Virgin Islands investment company and another Russian company are thought to be acting as a front for a Russian crime gang’s efforts to launder money out of their country and through the UK.
The 43-year-old Russian broker was arrested on March 23rd on suspicion of Fraud by Abuse of Position, and Money Laundering, and later released on bail until July. A British national was also interviewed under caution and released.
The operation comes just two weeks after the City of London Police seized bankers’ drafts worth about $43 million in South Wales and arrested a 58-year-old man on suspicion of money laundering.
This was the biggest money seizure ever made by a UK police force, with the funds suspected of being sent to this country by an overseas organised crime gang running Ponzi schemes and conducting fraudulent trading on the foreign exchange markets.
Detective Inspector Craig Mullish, from the City of London Police’s Money Laundering Unit, said:
“Our investigation points towards a suspected Russian organised crime group using London’s futures market to launder millions of dollars worth of criminal revenue.
“The City of London Police, working with law enforcement, government and the private sector, are committed to blocking and then stopping this type of behaviour and ensuring that the UK is viewed as a hostile place to launder the proceeds of crime generated both in this country and abroad.”
The City of London Police Fraud Squad takes on many of the UK’s most complex and significant fraud investigations. It includes units dedicated to combating money laundering and recovering the proceeds of crime.
The City of London Police is also home to Action Fraud (National Fraud Reporting Centre) and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, which together records and analyses thousands of reports of fraud each week. Further to this it hosts the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED).
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