FIVE on trial have pleaded not guilty of running a money-laundering operation from a house in Belgrave.
The Lichfield Drive-based defendants are Chauhan Yogendrasinh, 55, director of the alleged money laundering business, Rushi Investments, and his wife Moushamiben Chauhan, 52.
Belgrave-based Bhavesh Suclo, 40, his wife Jignasha Jignasha, 56, and Pankashbai Deugi, 52, are the co-accused, all alleged employees of Yogendrasinh.
The accused were allegedly using a sham money transfer business to operate £11 million of criminal cash.
Money was regularly transferred to foreign lands fictitiously based on income from non-existent customers and fake invoices, according to the prosecution.
The unexplained cash also allegedly funded the purchase of property, luxury holidays, and other movable properties by the accused.
Michelle Heeley QC, prosecuting, informed the Leicester Crown Court: “The Prosecution cannot say from what criminal enterprise this money has come from, but we say the amount of money and the lengths that have been gone to hide it mean that it is criminal money that is being laundered.
“The company business involved, on the face of it, taking small sums of money and sending it abroad to other people,” Heeley said. “The case is about criminal money that was put through the records of businesses to make it look as if it was legitimate.”
Money has been transferred abroad to countries such as Hong Kong and India.
All the accused have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to transfer illegal property between 2011 and 2016.
Yogendrasinh and Suclo also rejected claims of conspiracy to turn the criminal property in relation to the purchase of a property, at 62 Westbourne Street, Belgrave, Leicester.
The prosecution also highlighted the fact that in 24 months over £1.5m in cash went through Yogendrasinh’s HSBC account.
“A lot of money was paid by Jignasha and by Moushamiben Chauhan – both trusted to handle cash in this operation,” Heeley told.
The business was registered with Companies House. It had listed directors and provided accounts. It was also registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and HMRC.
The accused in the alleged sham money service also misused numerous genuine Money Service Bureaux (MSB) to transfer the bulk of the money to foreign land, the prosecution noted.
Moushamiben Chauhan was authorised to act on behalf of her illegal business with legitimate MSB, Choice Forex.
The dirty money operation sent over $8m through Choice Forex, which was collecting thousands of pounds a week from the allegedly dishonest business, the prosecution said.