Big-time money-launderers ‘cleaned’ fortune for gangs

A GROUP of professional money-launderers in Spain, who “cleaned” more than €70m for Colombian and Asian gangs, have been dismantled.

Twenty-eight people have been arrested, 22 of them in Spain and six in the Netherlands, and 19 commercial companies are being investigated.

In addition, seven firearms, 100 vehicles and more than 70 buildings and bank accounts have been seized or embargoed.

The investigation also found a link between more than 5,000kg of cocaine seized in Holland, with some of those probed.

Spain’s National Police, together with Guardia Civil officers, found that the organisation members were based mainly in Madrid and Toledo.

They provided their services to other criminal groups, mostly Asian, who were dedicated to fraud against the public treasury, and some Colombians, dedicated to international drug-trafficking, who were charged a 10-15% commission.

The arrested people had set up a large number of companies in fields such as import-export, real estate management and the buying and selling of gold, along with other precious metals, such as silver or platinum.

These companies were in the name of front men, who lent their identity in exchange for money; thus, giving the organisation access to a series of bank accounts.
In the case of the Asian scheme, where clients mainly wanted to avoid paying taxes, entrepreneurs contacted the organisation delivering the money in cash.

The launderers then contacted various petty criminals, from whom they acquired jewellery from burglaries. These were melted into ingots, and then sold to wholesalers, who paid money by bank transfers.

Through this system of buying and melting gold, the dismantled organisation acquired more than 2,000kg of gold on the black market.

They would then transfer the money raised between their front companies with false invoicing, before, finally, transferring it to the destination country through the fake import-export companies, again backed by false invoices and fake contracts.

Police also detected the simulation of commercial operations. The launderers, after receiving the money and circulating it among their companies, transferred it to the companies of the “clients”, justifying it as payment for goods or services. This money was then used to buy property.

The investigation revealed that the disbanded organisation had been contacting people of Colombian origin, living mainly in the Netherlands, from whom it received large sums of cash.

A total in excess of more than €2m from this group was laundered and later invested in the real-estate market of Madrid and Toledo.

This Colombian group have been linked to the seizure of 5,000kg of cocaine in the Netherlands. And information found by the Spanish police has been sent to their Dutch colleagues to help them investigate that case.


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Posted by on Aug 23 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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