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Weekly Edition - Published  25 August 2016


Local News Report - Mobile Page


'Cash in a bag' money launderer jailed

A lorry driver caught smuggling more than £205,000 in cash out of the UK in a plastic bin bag has been jailed for 3 years, after an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation.

Milos Dukic (46) of Ljubljana, Slovenia, was stopped by Border Force Officers, at the Port of Dover, England, as he attempted to board a ferry to Calais, France, in February 2016. A search of the cab of the lorry he was driving uncovered £205,645 in bank notes, hidden in a black plastic bag. The £20, £10 and £5 notes weighed more than 14 kilos in total.

Dukic was arrested on suspicion of money laundering and the matter was referred to HMRC for investigation.

HMRC investigators found that the cash smuggled by Dukic was from an illegal tobacco scam orchestrated by Warrington man, John Parker (57). Forensic evidence linked Parker to the plastic bag, found in the cab, containing the cash.

Alan Tully, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:- "Forensic investigation allowed us to link the cash found in the lorry's cab back to the wider tobacco smuggling operation, and put these men behind bars. Working with our partner agencies, HMRC will not hesitate to investigate those committing tax related fraud, and recover any proceeds from the crime, to ensure that no one is beyond our reach. Anyone with information about alleged financial crime or tobacco smuggling can contact the Customs Hotline on:- 0800 59 5000."

Dukic was charged on 16 February, 2016 with 2 Proceeds of Crime offences; concealing and removing criminal property. He pleaded guilty at Canterbury Crown Court, on 30 June, 2016 to one count of money laundering by concealing criminal property. He was jailed for 3 years, on 23 August 2016.

John Parker and lorry driver, Dragisa Jovanovic (63) were jailed, on 19 July 2016, for excise duty evasion, after a tobacco smuggling investigation by HMRC. The 2 men were arrested at an industrial estate in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire in April 2016, as they unloaded 300 boxes of tobacco from a lorry, which also contained furniture.

1.8 tonnes of illicit tobacco, worth more than £350,000 in evaded excise duty, was seized. A bin liner found in Parker's car contained £125,000 cash intended as payment for the tobacco; another bag contained £16,000 in cash as payment for the lorry driver - Jovanovic.

John Parker was jailed for 4 years and Dragisa Jovanovic was jailed for 2½ years at Luton Crown Court.

HMRC has already seized the cash and confiscation proceedings are now under way.


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