Jailed: Plaistow mechanic for role in £5m money laundering scam
- Credit: HMRC
A Plaistow car mechanic who set up fake firms as a front for a £5.3 million money laundering scam has been jailed for six years.
Gurdeep Haire, 29, funnelled funds through two companies he ran from the bedroom of his terrace home in Brock Road.
Blackfriars Crown Court heard the cash probably came from criminals and that Haire was paid £20,000 for his part in moving the money abroad.
Sentencing, Judge John Hillen said: “It was carefully planned by you and others who must have been involved and who you are yet to identify.
“In the modern globalised financial world, money laundering offences will be punished severely to deter criminals acting in the way you did.”
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Haire was caught on security camera paying more than £100,000 into a busy high street bank.
Investigations by taxman HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed this deposit was one of many, with Haire sending millions to overseas bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, Dubai, Hong Kong, China and Poland.
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He was arrested on suspicion of evading VAT, cheating the public revenue and money laundering.
When searching his bedroom, investigators found his businesses had never traded and their only purpose was stashing away illegal funds.
Haire offered no explanation for where the money came from and answered “no comment” to all questions when interviewed under arrest at Forest Gate police station in December 2014. He tried the same approach in another interview seven months later.
He denied three separate charges of money laundering at his early appearances in court but changed his plea to guilty two months before the trial.
Haire was sentenced yesterday to six years in jail on each count, to be served concurrently, and banned from being a company director for nine years.
Haire thought that by setting up fake businesses and funnelling cash through his bank accounts he would somehow stay under HMRC’s radar,” said Richard Mayer, assistant director of the tax body’s financial investigation service.
“He was wrong and it was foolish of him to believe he could get away with committing a large fraud.”
To report tax fraud, call the HMRC hotline on 0800 788 887.