'Cash in a bag' money
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
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.