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Ten suspected members of an organised crime group have been arrested on suspicion of flying an estimated £15.5 million out of the UK to Dubai, hidden in suitcases.
The suspects, who allegedly belonged to a well-orchestrated conspiracy to launder millions of pounds made through Class A drugs and organised immigration crime, were arrested following a series of raids around London on Wednesday, the NCA announced.
The raids follow an NCA investigation, supported by the Met Police, into cash seizures totalling more than £1.5 million made by Border Force officers over the course of 2019.
The investigation included examinations of travel history, which suggested that this crime group have transported more than £14 million from the UK to Dubai in 2017 and 2018 alone.
“Cash is the lifeblood of organised crime groups and they need the services of money launderers,” said Chris Hill, NCA senior investigating officer.
“We believe that the action we and our partners have taken will have caused permanent damage to a well-established money laundering network.”
Ben Russell, deputy director of the National Economic Crime Centre, said: “We were able to assist the case team in arranging forensic analysis of seized banknotes. We were also able to use our relationships with our international partners in the UAE to obtain evidence in relation to this case.
“The NECC has a unique role in co-ordinating the response to cash smuggling with other national and international law enforcement partners. Working together, our aim is to arrest and disrupt the criminals who carry out this type of activity. Our joined up approach within UK law enforcement and across the globe helps bring more people to justice.”
According to an earlier report by the FCA, serious organised crime, that money laundering facilitates, costs the UK £37 billion every year.