A Southall man who was jailed for money laundering was “just as culpable” as the criminals he helped, say police.
Harkishan Talwar, 44, received two sentences of eight years and three years, to run concurrently, for laundering £3.5m of criminal funds over a four-month period, a HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) spokesman said.
Muhammad Khan, 24, also from Southall, was tried in his absence after breaching his bail conditions in July 2013 by fleeing the country, according to HMRC. He was found guilty of laundering £1.4m and was sentenced to one-year in prison.
Both men were tried and sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday (August 7).
On January 21 2013, both men were arrested on suspicion of money laundering after officers witnessed an exchange of £50,000 cash between both men in Talwar’s Range Rover on Hambrough Road, Southall, HMRC said in a statement.
A note found on Khan identified that he had taken part in a number of earlier cash handovers totalling £1.4m, for which he was paid £5,500, HMRC added.
Talwar ran a money service bureau called Fortune Exchange on Earls Court Road, when police searched the premises and seized £250,000 cash and notebooks belonging to Talwar showing the illegal movements of a further £3.5m.
In July 2013, following an investigation assisted by the HMRC, Talwar was also charged with further money laundering offences.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Constable James Nellist from the City of London Police said: “Khan and Talwar were making a lot of money by laundering millions of pounds on behalf of criminals and in doing so played a vital and significant role in enabling serious criminal behaviour.
“Using his position as the director of a money service bureau to help transfer criminal money around the globe in an attempt to make the money look legitimate and hide it from law enforcement agencies, Talwar is as culpable as the criminals he helped.
“This is the force’s second money laundering conviction within a week. These results and the dismantling of criminal enterprises, is a message to those supporting criminal gangs; we will relentlessly pursue and prosecute you.”
HMRC's assistant director of criminal investigation Chris Gill said: “This was a complex operation and we are pleased to have supported our colleagues from the City of London Police.
"Talwar claimed to run a legitimate money service bureau, but this was merely a front for laundering criminal cash.
“Money laundering is a serious crime and we will take action to bring those responsible before the courts so justice can be served.”