Crime prevention officials and police in the UK have recovered over 300,000 pounds in cash suspected of being the proceeds of crime from an Indian-origin couple.
Searches of a house belonging to husband-wife Sailesh and Harkit Singara in Edgware, north west London, revealed a total of more than 200,000 pounds, with around half of the money neatly stacked on a bed. Another 100,000 pounds was discovered in a suitcase on the floor, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.
“Some Money Service Businesses (MSBs) continue to pose a risk to the UK by facilitating the movement of illicit cash. The NECC and its partners have developed an increased understanding of this threat, which is enabling more effective action against suspicious MSBs while supporting legitimate businesses,” said Rachael Herbert, Head of Threat Response at the NCA.
Nearby, officers found a further 100,000 pounds in a bag which was in the possession of Sailesh Mandalia, a business associate of Singara.
Believing the money to be the proceeds of crime, Metropolitan Police Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) investigators applied for a forfeiture order – a civil process in the UK intended to recover illicit cash where there has been no proven criminal offence.
In October 2019, the order was granted at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, along with instructions that the three respondents pay costs of a combined 1,895 pounds.
However, Mandalia and the Singaras had appealed against the forfeiture.
All the accused, who collectively own two money service businesses, asserted that the cash was intended for legitimate business accounts, and that poor accounting over several years was responsible for any confusion.
But on September 10, a judge at Southwark Crown Court dismissed their appeal, ensuring the full sum can be recovered by the NCA.
Detective Chief Inspector Tony O’Sullivan, Head of the Met Police OCP, said: “While the three individuals are not accused, and have not been convicted, of any crime in relation to these events, the 300,000 pounds recovered will now go into the public purse where it can positively impact on communities.
“Money is at the heart of organised crime, and it is vital that those in possession of huge sums of cash can account for it legitimately. We at the OCP continue to tackle the criminality that generates illicit cash in London and beyond,” he said.
The court additionally instructed the three respondents to pay costs of a combined 4,350 pounds.
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