Passengers arriving at Heathrow airport in London. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
THE National Crime Agency (NCA) has seized gold bars worth £650,000 at Heathrow Airport from a woman who was trying to smuggle them to India, reported Evening Standard.
According to the report, she was transiting 15 gold bars through the airport after arriving on a plane from Singapore. She was attempting to take an onward flight to Chennai.
She claimed she was taking transporting the gold for a jeweller in Singapore to another one in India, the report added.
However, law enforcers and Border Force staff decided that they were instead being carried on behalf of money laundering network working for organised criminals.
They noted that she had no explanation for her strange routing via London when she could have travelled directly from Singapore to India much quicker.
Officials believed that she was trying to evade detection by Indian customs officials by disguising her original departure point.
The report added that law enforcers have also discovered that the invoices for the gold bars were fake and the jeweller in Chennai did not exist.
The bars have now been forfeited under Proceeds of Crime legislation after a hearing at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court, Evening Standard report added.
“Our investigation pointed to these gold bars belonging to a criminal money laundering network active in both Europe and Asia. We think they were attempting to move them through London to try and disguise their routing, and avoid the attentions of Indian law enforcement upon arrival there,” NCA Commander Andy Noyes was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
“NCA investigators worked with Indian partners to disprove the story given to officers by the woman carrying the gold bars, and show that on the balance of probabilities they were proceeds of crime.”
He added that the agency is working with partners like Border Force to disrupt the flow of illicit money coming through the UK.
The woman, who has not been named, was allowed to continue her journey and was not prosecuted, the report further said.