A gang involved in a large-scale money laundering operation siphoning millions of pounds into Chinese bank accounts for crime networks has been jailed.
The four men were jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court after admitting a string of money laundering offences.
Ringleader Quaojun Lou, aged 38, of Peninsula Court, East Ferry Road, E14 pleaded guilty to seven counts of money laundering having changed his plea on 4 April two days into his trial. He was sentenced to a total of three-and-a-half years.
Three men had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing:
Barry Nixon, aged 55, of Rollason Way, Brentwood, Essex, pleaded guilty to two counts of money laundering. He was jailed for 16 months.
Gordon Bahula, aged 48, of Botanic Road, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to two counts of money laundering. He was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.
Raymond Osborne, aged 69, of Duddington Close, Mottingham, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering. He received a 20-week jail term, suspended for a year.
On 2 June last year, police executed a search warrant at Lou’s home address and seized £351,064.45 in cash.
He had been seen by police on a number of occasions to meet the other defendants in car parks in Lewisham and Poplar where large quantities of money were passed to him in sports bags.
Three of the ‘couriers’ were identified as Nixon, Bahula and Osborne and they were subsequently arrested.
Police attended Nixon’s home address and during a search seized £302,795 in cash.
Evidence retrieved from Lou’s mobile phone and messaging app on the device showed he was involved in laundering millions of pounds in cash from unknown criminal proceeds and using Bank of China accounts to launder the money for further unknown parties.
Detective Constable Chris Woods, of the Met’s Specialist, Organised and Economic Crime Command’s Criminal Finance Team, said: “Criminals will go to great lengths to launder the proceeds of their crimes but we will go to greater lengths to pursue and disrupt their networks.”
Lou and Osborne were sentenced on 11 April; Bahula and Nixon were sentenced on 25 April.