Wednesday 24 July 2024
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Businessman hands over half a million pounds of alleged criminal profits

A Loughborough-based businessman has agreed to hand over assets worth £500,000 to settle a National Crime Agency civil recovery claim based on his alleged links to money laundering.

Leicestershire Police began investigating in 2009, after it became aware of funds being paid through a money service business account called ‘Route of Asia’, leading them to suspect the owner, Salim Miah, of operating a large-scale money laundering scheme, which facilitated the transfer of funds out of the UK.

Officers identified the proceeds of a mortgage fraud, totalling almost £420,000, into the Route of Asia account.

In 2009 Miah used almost £300,000 of this money towards the purchase of the Warwick Arms, a restaurant he owned in Loughborough.

He sold the business five years later and used the proceeds to purchase another four properties.

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Those properties were collectively valued at £1.08 million and eventually became the subject of the NCA’s civil recovery claim in 2019.

Approximately £650,000 of the property value is believed to have originated from the mortgage fraud.

The money service business was denied official authorisation by the Financial Services Authority (now the Financial Conduct Authority) in 2013, at which point it ceased to operate.

On 4 March 2022, a civil recovery order by consent was agreed following earlier discussions of a settlement between the NCA, Salim Miah, his wife Milan Begum and business associate Joshim Uddin (who both shared joint ownership of property with Salim Miah).

The civil order, worth £500,000, relates to a residential rental property, a plot of land and a cash payment of £32,500.

Andy Lewis, Head of civil recovery at the NCA said: “Money laundering is a key enabler of organised crime and professional services like Money Service Businesses, can often be abused in order to ‘clean’ cash linked to criminality.

“The NCA is able to use tools such as civil recovery orders, to ensure those who benefit from the proceeds of crime do not hold on to illicit wealth.

“These assets will eventually be sold with the proceeds going towards combatting further crime.”

“Rachael Herbert, Head of Threat Response for Money Laundering at the National Economic Crime Centre said: “The NECC works with operational partners to ensure that the wealth generated by those engaged in organised criminal activity is targeted by both criminal and civil financial powers”

“This case shows the value of using civil tools which do not depend on a conviction to deny suspected criminals their illicitly-obtained wealth.”

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