Cabin crew member jailed for money laundering £150,000
A MALAYSIAN Airlines cabin crew member has been jailed for a year for money laundering after he was caught trying to get on a flight at Heathrow Airport with £150,000 in cash.
Muhamad Aziz was caught with £100,000 in cash in a roller bag, while he hid £50,000 inside his black suit carrier as he was going to get on a flight to Kuala Lumpur.
The National Crime Agency took swabs from the cash Aziz, from Selangor in Malaysia, had concealed and found that it had traces of cocaine.
The flight attendant, with 15 years experience, told officers he had brought that money in to the country on a flight the previous day and had expected to visit Harrods to spend the money on handbags and sunglasses.
However, the 37-year-old claimed he was too tired to go shopping, despite having two receipts from Primark in his wallet, dated on the same day.
He also had a customer registration card for a Malaysian money exchange bureau.
He was arrested on suspicion of money laundering, and pleaded guilty to the charge on Thursday November 22 at Isleworth Crown Court.
The judge sentenced him to 12 months in prison.
Ian Truby, operations manager for the NCA at Heathrow, said: “The story Aziz told us was so far fetched as to be almost laughable.
“He was a cabin crew member for 15 years and would well have known the regulations about carrying cash into and out of the country.
“It seems that he decided to use that employment as a cover for his criminality.
“Organised criminals rely on cash couriers like Aziz to move their profits around – his was a key role in a long criminal chain – so tackling this illicit flow of money is a priority for us and our partners.
“The money found here will be forfeited under the Proceeds of Crime Act.”
Nick Jariwalla, director of Border Force at Heathrow, said: “Border Force officers work with law enforcement colleagues like the NCA to tackle the flow of illicit funds and this is another example of where that joint working has helped take thousands of pounds of potentially criminal cash out of circulation. Any cash which is sub- sequently forfeited is then returned to the public purse”