A criminal trio lived the high life by laundering more than £100million in cash from criminal gangs through a bureau de change business which amounted to a "dishonest living" by officals.

Owner of the business Thillianathan Kumarathas, 58, and staff member Ramanathan Thayaparan, both of Eastcote Lane, Harrow, were sentenced alongside colleague Dinesh Kumar Anandan of Pentland Close, Edmonton, after they were found guilty of money laundering offences on Friday.

Over a number of years the crooks would receive dirty money from criminal gangs, and then issue unsuspecting tourists with €500 in exchange.

Ramanathan Thayaparan, from Harrow, was jailed for five years
 

The crooks enjoyed the fruits of their illegal trade, using profits to buy several properties in the UK, France and India.

They also used the money to pay for private education for their children.

David Margree, assistant director at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said: "This was a calculated attempt to make a dishonest living and help organised criminals go undetected by exchanging the money they got from criminal activity. These sentences send out a very clear message that money laundering is a serious crime and will not be tolerated."

Thayaparan, 42, had previously worked as a money laundering reporting officer at Premier Exchange Ltd.

HMRC staff have also seized assets belonging to the criminal trio including vehicles, restaurants, supermarkets, cash and funds held in bank accounts and business and residential properties.

Around £84,000 in cash was seized during searches by HMRC officers of business and residential premises belonging to the men.

Thayaparan was jailed at Southwark Crown Court for nine years, Kumarathas for five years and 34-year-old Anandan was jailed for two years.

The €500 note has since been withdrawn from circulation for use by UK wholesalers.