Man involved in money laundering operation ordered to pay back £87,000
Main article content
A man who was jailed after being involved in a multi-million pound money laundering operation has been ordered to pay back more than £87,000.
Chauhan Vijay Yogendrasinh, 57, was jailed for eight years in November last year after being found guilty of conspiracy to transfer criminal property.
On Wednesday (9 December) at a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Leicester Crown Court, it was found that the defendant’s money laundering operation saw a total of £9,168,824.70 laundered through his money service business.
At the hearing, a confiscation order was made with the defendant being ordered to pay back £87,342.86 which amounts to Yogendrasinh’s realisable/available assets.
If the amount is not paid, the defendant will be ordered to serve a further 12 months imprisonment consecutive to his current sentence.
Chauhan Vijay Yogendrasinh
Yogendrasinh was the director of Rushi Investments Limited - a company which appeared to be a legitimate money transfer service, but was actually found to be a money laundering operation transferring criminal money overseas.
Work carried out by financial investigators at the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) found that more than £11,000,000 had gone through the business which was ran from Canon Street in Leicester.
While it is accepted some of the money was transferred legally, millions of pounds was found to have been transferred illegally through different bank accounts and companies to be sent abroad.
It is not known what criminal enterprise this money came from but police work, which included uncovering huge amounts of cash and numerous false documents, proved that money laundering had been committed.
Yogendrasinh had denied his involvement but following a seven-week trial at the court, he was found guilty of conspiracy to transfer criminal property between January 2011 and March 2016.
On 28 November last year, he was sentenced to eight years imprisonment. He was also disqualified from being a company director for eight years.
Police investigative work into Yogendrasinh showed Rushi Investments had used legitimate money service bureaus, misleading the companies so that they would transfer the money abroad. This was done through false lists of people which were created to try and explain where the large amounts of money being deposited had come from. Some invoices found in relation to transactions made overseas were also found to be false.
CCTV and surveillance work was also carried out which showed that while it was suggested that dozens of people had been attending the business daily in order to deposit money, this was not correct.
Further enquiries to prove the crime showed large amounts of cash had passed through the personal bank accounts of Yogendrasinh which didn’t match up to what had been declared to HMRC.
It was also found ‘cuckoo smurfing’ had been committed - when a person unwittingly allows their bank account to be used to deposit money. The victims of this were expecting a large cash payment into their bank accounts, but the money had come from Rushi Investments Ltd using criminal funds - the bank accounts were being used to try and disguise the origin and destination of the cash.
At the time of the sentencing, EMSOU’s DC Grant Bailey said: “This was an operation which involved millions of pounds of criminal cash being transferred illegally.
“A complex police investigation which involved tireless hours of examining documents, checking financial records and carrying out CCTV enquiries - amongst other work - meant that we were able to prove what ‘business’ was actually being run by Rushi Investments.
“Money laundering involves cash gained from criminal activity. This is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. We will take action against anyone we believe to be involved in this type of activity and we will do the investigative work which is required to prove the crime.
“If you suspect anyone of being involved in money laundering – for example if a person is trying to bank an unusually large amount of cash with no explanation for it or if their explanation for the cash does not seem legitimate – you should report it to police immediately.”