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Police have seized £2million of dirty money laundered through front businesses by an organised crime group based in the infamous ‘Ndrangheta mafia’s home turf.
An Italian crime gang, based in the country’s southern Calabria region, set up a fake business in London to clean up their cash made abroad but they have now been forced to hand it over.
Investigators first uncovered the scheme in 2018 when they found a frozen bank account in the UK that was suspiciously receiving funds from several companies in Italy.
Detectives uncovered £2million of dirty money from the ‘Ndrangheta mafia based in Italy’s southern Calabria region (pictured) being laundered through front businesses in London
Money from this account was then being sent to a second UK account held by another company.
Detectives in London discovered that the firm was set up using fake addresses so money launderers could hide their tracks.
The two bank accounts were being used to hide the cash through ‘layering’ – a process by which criminals try to hide where their money has come from with multiple bank transfers.
Investigators found out the two bank accounts held a huge £1,723,706 and Euro 356,043 respectively.
Police in London were able to identify the crooks behind this network and link them to previous financial crimes committed abroad, with help from the Europe-wide police force Europol and the Guardia di Finanza in Italy.
Detective Inspector Paul Curtis, from the City of London Police’s Financial Investigation Unit, said: ‘Thanks to the persistent efforts of FI Andy Morrison during this two year investigation, and in collaboration with Italian authorities, the FIU were able to reveal the true intentions of the individuals behind this shell company based in the UK.
The scheme of cleaning money through London (pictured) was first uncovered in 2018 when investigators noticed a frozen bank account in the UK was still receiving funds from companies in Italy
‘They set it up with one intention in mind, to launder millions of pounds, obtained through criminality.
‘The weight of the evidence against the account holder meant they had no choice but to not contest our forfeiture application.
‘Money laundering is integral to organised crime and the City of London Police will continue to make every effort to cut access to money laundering routes, which is key to defeating organised crime at source.’