A married couple have been jailed for a total of 19 years for laundering £145million of dirty money through their family-run bureau de change.
Moothathamby Sriskantharajah, 59, and his wife Thilageswary, 48, ran what seemed to be a legitimate currency exchange but were in fact cleaning money for dangerous criminal gangs.
The couple stashed hundreds of thousands of pounds in safe deposit boxes at luxury store Harrods and used two sisters, unrelated to them, to transport the illicit cash.
The fraudulent four were jailed on Thursday last week at Southwark Crown Court for money laundering after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The Sriskantharajahs ran London stores Universal Money Exchange and Buckingham Money Exchange, with three sites across the capital including one on Oxford Street.
They took cash from organised gangs and transferred it into euros believing the authorities couldn’t then trace the dirty money.
Sisters Marlene and Lucia Cumbo, 53 and 54, both of Islington, north London, acted as their couriers.
HMRC officers caught Marlene leaving Harrods with a store bag containing nearly £91,000 in 200-euro notes in August 2011.
Officers were searching her home when Lucia arrived carrying an envelope in her handbag with a further £35,000.
Peter Millroy, criminal investigation assistant director at HMRC, said: ‘This gang of criminals were under the delusion they could escape detection – they were wrong and are now paying the price behind bars.
‘Their activities bore no relation to what is expected from high street bureaux de change. Instead they used their business as a front to launder the profits made by many of the UK’s most serious and dangerous crime gangs.’
The married couple, of Hounslow, west London, denied the offences but were convicted by a jury.
Moothathamby was sentenced to 12 years in jail and banned from being a director for 12 years. While Thilageswary was jailed for seven years and banned from being a director for eight years.
Marlene admitted the offence and was jailed for three-and-a-half years. Lucia denied her role in the outfit but a jury found her guilty and she was sentenced to two years in jail.