11 June 2017
Four people who used a North London hotel room to conduct their money laundering activities were today jailed today for nearly 12 years.
In November last year National Crime Agency surveillance officers watched Yongheng Jin, a French national, meet with Marsel Meco, an Albanian national, in the car park of a hotel in North London. From the boot of a car the men removed a large black suitcase.
Officers stopped Jin as he entered the hotel with the suitcase and found that it contained approximately £420,000. In Jin’s hotel room, officers recovered numerous items associated with money laundering including a cash counting machine, bundles of cash, a UV counterfeit money detector, scales, rubber bands, cash bags, numerous pieces of paper recording large numbers, bank cards, and multiple mobile phones.
During the search another man, Luis Martos Gardner, a Spanish national, knocked at the door. Suspecting he may be involved, officers arrested him and when they searched his car they recovered over £340,000 split into several bags. They also discovered several mobile phones and a pocket diary which contained multiple bank notes of differing currency.
After gathering further evidence, officers arrested Xiaoqun Tu, a German national and wife of Yongheng Jin, at their home in Sale, Manchester in March 2017. They recovered mobile phones, a laptop and more cash.
All four pleaded guilty to money laundering offences at Kingston crown court court and were sentenced to a total of 11 years 10 months imprisonment.
Kevin Gee of the NCA said: “Money laundering props up organised crime. It helps criminals hide their profits, spend those profits, and bankroll further crime.
“By targeting money launderers the NCA can be a real thorn in the side of organised criminals and cause major disruption to their plans.”