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Dudley pair charged over multi-million pound money laundering conspiracy

By Megan Archer | Brierley Hill | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

A man and a woman from Dudley have been charged by police with conspiring to illegally courier hundreds of thousands of pounds out of the UK to Dubai for an organised crime group.

The cash seized by investigators. Photo: National Crime Agency.

Joe Round, age 30, of Blewitt Street, Pensnett and Louise Smith, age 33, of School Street, Brierley Hill were charged today with conspiring to launder money.

They were released on conditional bail until their next appearance at Croydon Crown Court on December 20.

Their arrests are part of a wider investigation into a group conspiring to launder millions of pounds of money made through Class A drugs and organised immigration crime.

The Dudley pair were first arrested as they prepared to board a flight at Heathrow on November 18 last year, following the discovery of around £730,000 cash in a suitcase.

This prompted an National Crime Agency investigation into a network who are now suspected of flying an estimated £15.5million out of the UK to Dubai.

Round and Smith voluntarily attended Heathrow Police Station on Thursday last week where they were interviewed again by NCA officers.

They were then bailed to return today, when they were charged.

Migrants

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A total of 10 people have already been charged in connection with the investigation – from areas including Hounslow and Middlesex.

Many of the group – whom National Crime Agency officers believe also tried to smuggle 17 migrants into the country this summer – were arrested last month.

They are all alleged to have been part of a well-orchestrated conspiracy to launder millions of pounds of money made through Class A drugs and organised immigration crime, transferring it from the UK to Dubai over the last three years.

Police said examinations of travel history suggest this crime group have transported more than £14 million in 2017 and 2018 alone.

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Chris Hill, NCA senior investigating officer, said: "Cash is the lifeblood of organised crime groups and they need the services of money launderers.

"We believe that the action we and our partners have taken will have caused permanent damage to a well-established money laundering network.

"We are determined to do all we can to target illicit financial flows and hit organised criminal networks where it hurts – in the pocket."

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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