London (Uttam Hindu News): A group of 16 people, including several of Indian origin, have been sentenced to jail for their involvement in international money laundering and people smuggling into the UK.
An investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) has revealed that members of a west London-based organized crime group led by ‘kingpin’ Charan Singh smuggled almost £70 million in cash out of the UK and into Dubai between 2017 and 2019. Made hundreds of trips.
NCA officers believe the money was profits derived from the sale of Class A drugs and organized immigration crime.
Following a three-day sentencing hearing at Croydon Crown Court, which ended on Friday, Charan Singh, 44, of Hounslow, was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison.
His right-hand man Valjeet Singh was sentenced to 11 years, while trusted lieutenant Swandar Singh Dhal received 10 years for money laundering and an additional five years for people smuggling.
Other members of the crime group – Amarjeet Albadis, Jaginder Kapoor, Jacqueer Kapoor, Manman Singh Kapoor, Pinky Kapoor and Jasbir Singh Malhotra were given sentences ranging between nine years and 11 months.
Individuals arrested and charged as part of the NCA operation were tried in two trials at Croydon Crown Court, south London, starting in January this year.
Chris Hill, senior NCA investigating officer, said: “The NCA conducted a long and complex investigation into his activities and over a two-year period we were able to provide evidence of his involvement in money laundering and organized immigration crime.
The investigation also uncovered a plot involving members of an organized crime group (OCG) to smuggle 17 migrants, including five children and a pregnant woman, into the UK in the back of a van carrying tires in 2019 when NCA officers investigated.
The van was stopped by Dutch police, working with the NCA, before reaching a ferry at the Hook of Holland.
In November 2019, after several weeks of surveillance, communications and flight data analysis, authorities moved to make arrests.
The investigators were able to prove that Charan Singh, who was previously a resident of the UAE, had paid for flights to Dubai for other members of the network so that they could carry the cash.
They also kept a ledger, showing how much was transported and when. It revealed that gang members made at least 58 trips to Dubai in 2017 alone.
Further arrests followed and 18 people were eventually charged and prosecuted in two trials at Croydon Crown Court starting in January 2023.