Businessman ordered to hand over almost £200,000 by Crown Court

by Direct 2 Lawyers on August 13, 2013

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A Leicestershire business has been ordered by the Leicester Crown Court to hand over almost £200,000 that he illicitly obtained through money laundering cash.

The Leicester police started a criminal investigation into Mr Harish Patel, 56, in 2010 when they started to suspect that Mr Patel was laundering vast amounts of money for an international money laundering gang. This criminal investigation failed to identify the source of the money at the time or who it belonged to but it became clear that Mr Patel was engaged by the gang to distribute the proceeds of the criminal enterprise to various banks and financial institutions in Leicester and London. Mr Patel was arrested in March 2011 in Leicester as he was in the process of withdrawing £300,000 in cash and was subsequently prosecuted for money laundering, receiving a sentence of seven and a half years in jail.

During the court case figures emerged as to the amount of money that had passed through Mr Patel’s hands in the course of his money laundering – it was estimated that he had banked up to £4.6 million in cash and sent it to financial institutions overseas, as well as benefiting personally from the scheme to the tune of £2 million.

Last Friday (9 August 2013), Leicester Crown Court ordered that Mr Patel should be deprivded of his profits from his involvement in the case, in an application brought by Leicestershire Police’s Economic Crime Unit. Most of the laundered cash has already been seized by the police but the court ordered him to surrender a further £181,733.46 and $5,224 or face a further 30 months in jail.

There does not appear to have been any comment so far from Mr Patel’s criminal defence lawyers.

Mr Paul Wenlock, manager of the Leicester police Economic Crime Unit, stated: “I hope this case sends a strong message to those who get tempted to launder cash. Not only do you face a lengthy jail sentence, but we will do what we can to make sure you do not get to enjoy the fruits of your involvement when you get out.”

The principal money laundering offences are found in sections 327, 328 and 329 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Money laundering is defined as an act which constitutes an offence under S.327, 328 and 329 or a conspiracy or attempt to commit such an offence. Money laundering includes counselling, aiding or abetting or procuring.

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