Fen Chen, 32, was caught paying an astonishing £2.8million into high street banks for the organised criminal gang
A money launderer who deposited millions into high street banks has become the latest to be ordered to repay her ill-gotten gains.
Fen Chen, her friend Ying Lin, 27, and two associates took bundles of bank notes into dozens of London banks, amounting to £2.8million between 30 July and 15 August 2016.
The 32-year-old was jailed for six years and three months in November last year.
NCA officers arrested her shortly after she accepted a bag containing more than £300,000 from Albanian Fation Koka, 30, in the car park of an Asda supermarket in Park Royal, north west London, in August 2016.
Koka was jailed for 21 months and will be deported upon completion of his sentence. Lin was deported after serving a 14-month sentence.
Chen, of Park Royal, agreed to hand over £317,487 at Southwark Crown Court yesterday.
NCA financial investigations manager Mark Bannon said: ‘Fen Chen was a prolific money launderer and criminals like her are at the centre of serious and organised crime because they enable other high end criminals to clean their money.
Officers from the National Crime Agency arrested her shortly after she accepted a bag containing more than £300,000 from Albanian Fation Koka, 30, in the car park of an Asda supermarket in Park Royal, north west London, in August 2016
‘Money laundering is a priority threat for the NCA.
‘Pursuing confiscation orders on top of criminal convictions is a weapon we can use to hit offenders in the pocket.
‘We will keep hunting for any more assets Chen has.’
Cops also found £180,000 cash was discovered in bags and hiding places at Fen’s flat, and a cash counting machine.
Text messages were also found on phones which showed another cash handover took place in the same car park on July 31, 2016.
Another £180,000 cash was discovered in bags and hiding places at Fen’s flat along with bank slips detailing hundreds of deposits totalling £1.8 million. Pictured right: Fation Koka
Chen was convicted of four counts of money laundering at Kingston Crown Court and in November was jailed for a total six years and three months.
At the time, NCA operations manager Kevin Gee said: ‘Fen Chen was a prolific money launderer, able to process millions of pounds in cash in a very short period of time.
‘Chen was caught red handed in possession of around £300,000 belonging to an Albanian drugs gang.
‘Organised crime groups rely on money launderers like Chen, who play an integral part in allowing them to benefit from and re-invest their criminal profits.
‘Taking money launderers out of the chain, as we have done here, makes life far more difficult and more risky for crooks trying to clean their dirty cash.’
It comes after three drugs traffickers who were jailed for 83 years over a plot to bring 500 kilos of heroin to the UK were last July told to hand over almost £1.4 million.
Mohammed Farooq, 51, Homayon Mehrpoor, 61, and Ahmad Shah, 44, were part of a conspiracy to smuggle heroin – concealed in vegetables and bed linen – with a street value of £306m into the UK.
Mohammed Farooq, 51, left, along with two associates, was part of a conspiracy to smuggle heroin into the UK concealed in vegetables and bed linen. Farooq’s wife Catherine Farooq, right, was jailed for nine months for money laundering
Canadian national Mehrpoor, left, and Shah, right, from Pakistan, were earlier told to repay £346,519 and £389,018 respectively
In 2013 they were given respective prison sentences of 29 years, 25 years and 29 years and Farooq’s wife Catherine Farooq, 55, was jailed for nine months for money laundering.
Farooq was ordered to repay £642,981 at Birmingham Crown Court, after Canadian national Mehrpoor and Shah, from Pakistan, were earlier told to repay £346,519 and £389,018 respectively.
Raj Parmar, senior financial officer at the NCA’s Economic Crime Command, said: “These confiscations show that it doesn’t matter how long it takes, law enforcement will work to trace criminals’ assets and take them.
“Retaining their illegal profits is very often the only source of comfort crooks have.
“The orders are substantial and continue to hurt Farooq, Mehrpoor and Shah after already receiving large jail terms.’
The £4million a year drugs trade and why the gangs deposit their huge hauls in cash
The NCA has the monumental task on its hands of bringing down the estimated 5,800 organised crime groups. Pictured: Stacks of cash recovered from one Albanian gang’s drug supply business
Drug gangs generally prefer to use cash to deposit vast sums of money, because it is ‘relatively untraceable, readily exchangeable and anonymous’, says the NCA.
The social and economic costs of serious organised crime, including drug supply and money laundering, are estimated to be £24 billion a year, while the UK drugs market is worth around £4 billion a year.
The NCA has the monumental task on its hands of bringing down the estimated 5,800 organised crime groups – comprised of around 40,600 individuals – who were operating in the UK as of December 2014
An influx of Albanian drugs gang members who have flocked to Britain have seen them take control of much of the UK cocaine supply.
Ministry of Justice figures in March revealed there were 726 offenders from the Balkan state behind bars last year – up from 267 in 2013.
Major players include Khalad Uddin, 35, who was jailed for 16 years last June
Albanians now make up the third largest foreign group jailed in England and Wales, behind Irish and Polish criminals – at a cost of around £53million to the taxpayer.
Some 321 inmates are there for drug offences, far outweighing the next highest foreign group, Jamaicans (122) and Poles (85).
They were jailed for crimes ranging from murder, drug dealing, sex offences, money laundering, people smuggling and death threats
The gangs’ ruthlessness has the NCA to warn they pose ‘a serious threat’.
Major players include Khalad Uddin, 35, who was jailed for 16 years last June. He was described as the ‘kingpin’ in an elaborate drug dealing network that spread from his homeland to the Midlands, Bristol and London.
Before he was snared by the police, Uddin lived in a plush apartment in Oxford and had a fleet of seven cars including a Range Rover and a BMW 7 Series.
His extravagant lifestyle led police officers to raid his home where they found about £460,000 in cash bundles, 70 pairs of designer jeans valued at up to £700 each and expensive jewellery.
Lulezim Zefi (left), 36, was the gang’s leader, which also included four mules who were arrested after a raid by National Crime Agency officers on April 27 at a Brentwood retail park. Right: Admir Simeqi, 41, who was observed delivering 3kg of cocaine to other men
In December, members of an Albanian drug smuggling gang who stashed vast quantities of cocaine inside car dashboards were jailed for a combined total of 43 years.
They hid the drugs in compartments that could only be accessed by pressing a combination of buttons on the dash and a USB cable, Kingston Crown Court heard.
Lulezim Zefi, 36, was the leader of the gang, which also included four mules who were arrested after a raid by National Crime Agency officers on April 27 at a Brentwood retail park.
In December, members of an Albanian drug smuggling gang who stashed vast quantities of cocaine inside car dashboards were jailed for a combined total of 43 years
Admir Simeqi, 41, was observed delivering 3kg to Gergi Marku, 25, before dropping another 2kg to Marku and Admir Bici, both 26.
A further 4kg haul was later found stashed inside a hydraulic concealment in the boot of Simeqi’s car.
In total, the drugs seized had a potential street value of at £720,000.
Zefi met with his lieutenants Valon Bajgora, 34, and Valentin Malocaj, 36, at a restaurant in West Hampstead, northwest London, where all three men were arrested.
The group had been under surveillance for weeks prior to their arrests and were seen to meet frequently at cafes, restaurants and their home addresses.
Searches of premises linked to the gang found a further £110,000 in cash as well as sets of weighing scales and equipment found to contain traces of cocaine and cutting agents. Pictured: Cash taken during the arrest
‘Britain in fast becoming the biggest consumer of cocaine in Europe’
Britain is becoming Europe’s number one cocaine marketplace, according to security minister Ben Wallace.
This has contributed to an upsurge in violence which has seen 67 people, most of them youngsters, killed in the capital alone in 2018.
The problem has also spread from urban areas to the suburbs and even rural districts.
Mr Wallace added: ‘Young people have the ability to order drugs, and gangs have the ability to have delivered to their door large packets of drugs from Albanian or Serbian drug gangs.’
Security minister Ben Wallace said Britain is becoming Europe’s number one cocaine marketplace
Last month, David Lammy MP also cited the Albanian connection. His intervention followed the drugs-related drive-by gun murder of 17-year-old Tanesha Melbourne.
Buying drugs is now as easy as ordering pizza, the MP said.
‘I think the police and our country have lost control of that drugs market,’ Mr Lammy claimed.
‘You have children — as young as 12, 13 — being recruited into gangs to run drugs across county lines.
‘It’s like [the food delivery service] Deliveroo. You can get them on Snapchat, Whats App. That, in the end, is driving the turf war and it’s driving the culture of violence.’
Mr Lammy’s comments in April came nine months after Albanian drug lord Klodjan Copja was jailed for 17 years.
It is estimated that he and his ultra-violent gang of fellow Albanians from Elbasan had imported as much as £150million of cocaine into the UK.
Drug lord Klodjan Copja was jailed for 17 years and it is estimated his ultra-violent gang of fellow Albanians imported as much as £150million of cocaine into the UK
During the court case, it emerged that one of his couriers was watched by police as he made weekly trips to a lay-by in Maidstone, Kent, where he would meet a lorry carrying imported cocaine from the continent.
The courier would then supply the drug to organised crime groups in London, Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham.
Until he was caught using a fake passport on the Greek-Albanian border and extradited to Britain, Copja was a master of evasion.
The Albanian gangs have worked hand-in-hand with drug cartels in Colombia, where the coca leaf is grown.
The consignments arrive in south-eastern Europe and are then moved on to the UK or elsewhere (Antwerp is the Albanian mafia-controlled port in the north, I was told).
Much of the cocaine is turned into crack cocaine, which is even more potent.
The profit margins are far bigger, which is why Copja’s is not the only UK-linked drugs gang from his home town of 140,000 people.
Official statistics support the contention that Albanian nationals have achieved a significant position in the UK’s underworld.
They are now the third largest foreign national group in our jails, after the Irish and Poles, both of whom have freedom of access to Britain thanks to historic ties or EU membership.
A National Crime Agency league table of more than 4,000 UK criminal gangs also showed that Albanians had overtaken Romanians to rise to third place in the league, behind only Britons and Pakistanis.
- Commercial banks best-placed to eliminate money laundering
- In a setback, Jagan ordered to personally appear in court in the money laundering case hearings
- EU agrees to clamp down on money laundering
- Money laundering case: Court refuses to spare Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy of personal appearance
- BPSL's ex chairman Sanjay Singal gets bail in money laundering case
- France charges bitcoin expert Vinnik with money laundering
- DA, money laundering cases: YS Jagan Mohan Reddy knocks HC doors for exemption from personal appearance
- Kwara: Ex-Finance Commissioner in EFCC custody for alleged money laundering
- Chinese Regulator Reportedly Orders Crackdown on Bitcoin Mining
- P&ID: Court adjourns Briton’s money laundering trial till January 21
- Farmington Man Sentenced to Prison In Money Laundering Scheme
- UPDATE 1-Tanzania fines five banks for lax anti-money laundering controls
- Court orders YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to mark his presence every friday
- Taxman orders special audit of Jet Airways
- HC quashes judge’s plea against discharge order
- Repay Rs 7,030 crore to PNB: DRT orders Nirav Modi
- Debt repayment orders hit record 1.15m in 2019
- Special court sends businessman CC Thampi to judicial custody, reserves order on bail
- N20.3 money laundry deal: Court grants four Kwara Govt House staff bail
- Have Hong Kong's feared triads taken sides in protests? Groups of masked men all wearing white descend on anti-Chinese activists and brutally beat them on another night of violence
Chinese money launderer is ordered to repay almost £400,000 have 2117 words, post on www.dailymail.co.uk at June 1, 2018. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.