Men jailed over £4.5m ‘laun­der­ing project’

Gang spent thou­sands of pounds on ex­pen­sive jew­ellery

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­

TWO west London men have been jailed for car­ry­ing out a £4.5 mil­lion ‘so­phis­ti­cated, highly or­gan­ised in­ter­na­tional money laun­der­ing project’ that en­abled them to splash out on ex­pen­sive jew­ellery.

As­lan Abazov, 30, of Cromwell Road, in Kens­ing­ton, was sen­tenced to seven years and six months in prison at South­wark Crown Court on Mon­day July 11.

Abazov was jailed along­side An­drejs Ig­nat­jevs, 48, of Vic­to­ria Road, in Ruis­lip, and three oth­ers for a string of of­fences in­clud­ing con­spir­acy to de­fraud and money laun­der­ing.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Jason Tunn of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice’s Op­er­a­tion Fal­con, said: “The ev­i­dence in this case showed that [As­lan Ger­gov, 29, of Bath Ter­race] and Abazov were the head of a so­phis­ti­cated, highly or­gan­ised, in­ter­na­tional money laun­der­ing project op­er­ated to sup­port global cy­ber crime ac­tiv­ity.

“The losses sus­tained by the UK vic­tims were sig­nif­i­cant, with ev­i­dence pro­duced to the court show­ing that the gangs’ profit were be­ing used to fund build­ing projects in Rus­sia in fur­ther ef­forts to laun­der their crim­i­nal pro­ceeds.”

The of­fences be­gan in Novem­ber 2014, when five busi­ness ac­counts at a well­known high street bank were com­pro­mised af­ter crim­i­nals used mal­ware to trans­fer £1m into ‘ mule ac­counts’, opened by em­ploy­ees of Ger­gov and Abazov.

Cash was laun­dered through ac­counts and was with­drawn from a num­ber of dif­fer­ent London locations, Heathrow Air­port.

Pro­ceeds were spent on items in­clud­ing a £3,400 white gold bracelet and a neck­lace for £2,970.

Abazov and two oth­ers who were jailed were caught on cam­era at a west London store where they bought eu­ros through a mule ac­count to­talling £2,504.

Ig­nat­jevs and an­other man were ar­rested as they re­peat­edly tried to buy large sums of Eu­ros from for­eign ex­change out­lets at Heathrow.

A search of one of the jailed men’s prop­er­ties re­vealed mul­ti­ple bank cards.

Abazov was de­ter­mined by de­tec­tives to be one of the ring lead­ers and was ar­rested in Oc­to­ber last year.

He and an­other man were found to be run­ning sim­i­lar op­er­a­tions in Ger­many, Aus­tria and Poland.

The to­tal amount ac­cu­mu­lated through the gang’s fraud­u­lent ac­tiv­ity was £4.5m, but po­lice said in­clud­ing to­tal losses to vic­tims are be­lieved to be much higher.

Abazov was in­volved in fund­ing a build­ing project in Rus­sia that was been un­der way for 12 months.

So far just £190,000 of the money has been re­claimed, but the Met said le­gal pro­ceed­ings are now un­der way to re­claim more.

Det Insp Tunn added: “Their con­vic­tions show the de­ter­mi­na­tion within the MPS of ac­tively pur­su­ing these crim­i­nals to dis­rupt their ac­tiv­i­ties and ar­rest them.”

Abazov pleaded guilty to two counts of con­spir­acy to de­fraud, and two counts of con­vert­ing crim­i­nal prop­erty.

Ig­nat­jevs was sen­tenced to five months in prison for con­spir­acy to de­fraud.

n JAILED: (Clock­wise from above left) An­drejs Ig­nat­jevs, As­lan Abazov, one of the Rolex watches found dur­ing a raid, and the site and de­sign for the build­ing project in Rus­sia

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